Pompeii to Assisi

25 Apr

Pompeii to Assisi
Today was for sure an amazing day. A quick drive to the remains of Pompeii for a guided tour. It’s right next to the city where we were staying. Market stalls everywhere with knick knacks of all different varieties.
I won’t go into to much of the story of Vesuvius other then to say everyone knows it buried the city of Pompeii with ash resulting in the world forgetting it was there. It was found many centuries later and in fact they are still excavating, very slow process. There are Arenas, theatres, bath houses and even a brothel which still has art work of the different suggestive activities that can be carried out. Quite saucy. It was the first time I’ve visited one of these places of ill repute, and surely the only time my wife was happy to photograph me being there. Many jokes ensued. The villas have much to offer historians in getting a glimpse of how a typical roman house ran. There are still many frescos and mosaics throughout the villas. The bath houses were amazing to see. You are told about the cold, warm and hot plunge into the different baths. The engineering was quite complex when it came to plumbing. The water was piped underneath to warm the tiles.
Out in the forum ( city centre ) it’s explained where the different temples and sacrificing of animals for different reasons, ranging from harvests, religious days, going to war and the like. There aren’t many columns in the forum but it’s described in a way that is easy to see columns surrounding the whole square. Off to the side is many excavated objects like vases, plates, cups, carts and even the plaster casts of the few actual people who originally died. In one of the villas there are a few skeletons displayed, they were grave robbers who decided the pickings were ripe. They died due to the toxic fumes still trapped in the enclosed burial ground. Once again it has to be seen to be believed, it’s just one of those places.
Back on the bus. Again. We were treated twice in one day today. The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was next on the tour. I was impressed with St. Peters but this was something else. St. Francis was quite a rich young nobleman of the time coming from very rich parents. He lived like any young rich man does at that age. As he got older he realised the error of his ways and gave his possessions and clothes back to his father and decided to start doing thing for other people. He started a following of people like minded people which still exists to this day. When he died at a much older age his followers decided to build a basilica in his name where he is entombed. Once again you are not allowed to take photographs, which is good as you can stop and smell the roses as some would say. Total silence ensued other than the massbeing held. It’s one of those places that captures you heart and soul. Even for those that are not religious this is a place that must be visited. The marble and frescos that is throughout is I will say even better than St. Peters. You will feel quite moved. Even the little village attached to the basilica is beautiful and very old.
For the night we stayed in the little village below the mountain os assisi. Our tour director has told us about the basilica in the the town centre. It was St. Francis’s original chapel but it you have to go inside to see it. The four of us had a spare half hour and decided it was worth a look even to stretch out the sore tired muscles. We managed to get inside before closing and I am so glad we went. Inside the basilica is a lot of beautiful sculpture and frescos in the very middle though is the original chapel. It’s very small with only enough seats on the side for 4 people on each side. It’s very place where St. Francis died. His followers built the basilica around the church. It still has its original frescos and solid timber doors even. I sat down for a few minutes just to take it all in. It was inspiring. We only spent a little while inside, I was wanting one last look and stayed an extra minute, my wife and 2 friends walked out ahead of me. When I was satisfied I reached the door, oh oh! They locked the door. I panicked for about five seconds and realised there was another door on the other side. I discreetly ran for the exit. To my relief Tony opened the door with a big grin. He told me as they walked out the door had been locked from outside, when he tried to explain all he got was a shrug of the shoulders. Luckily he also remembered the other door.
For me this church would be my favourite one to visit. If you ever get the opportunity to go there please don’t forget about the other.
When we returned to the hotel I thanked our tour operator for telling us about this little piece of beauty, he seemed quite pleased. As it turned out only the 4 of us went to the trouble, quite special indeed. That night we gave the others on the tour a performance on how good Aussies enjoy great food and vino Rossi. On the menu was bread, pasta, salad and pork. I had the fish. Salute!!

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One Response to “Pompeii to Assisi”

  1. Jodi Misiti April 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    You had the fish – yeah right – too funny!! Loving the blog. It is those special little places that you go to that make the trip worthwhile.

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