Buon giorno and welcome to A Road Retraveled! In this episode I show you some highlights of Assisi not to be missed when you visit this magical hilltop town in Umbria.
Aside from visiting the beautiful churches and basilicas, you’ll also find many travel tips and ideas for accommodations, shopping, and special places in Assisi that merit to be mentioned.
Europe makes it easy to get around on public transportation, and the easiest and cheapest way to get to Assisi. Train tickets vary depending on where from Italy are you traveling. And don’t forget to validate your ticket at the yellow stamp machine to avoid a 20 or so Euro penalty if the train conductor finds your ticket not validated.
Once you arrive at the train station which is actually in the town named Santa Maria degli Angeli, NOT Assisi itself. To reach Assisi from the train station you must either take the bus uphill to Assisi for around 1 Euro, or take a taxi for around 10 Euros. There are usually many taxis parked outside waiting for train passengers. Bus tickets are sold at the tabacchi, or the tobacco shop at the train station, and perhaps even at the coffee shop inside – which also sells train tickets, last I checked.
Accommodations in Assisi are quite inexpensive compared to the likes of Rome or Florence. If you’re on a budget, Assisi is a great place to say…it has many B&B’s, convents, and hotels for all budgets and tastes. I booked a room at Hotel Pallotta because it had 4 great things going for it when decided to give it a try: right off the main piazza, free in-room wi-fi, a big breakfast and a small price!!
Owned by a young couple who really know how to make guests feel at home, I couldn’t ask for anything more at Hotel Pallotta. My room had a desk for my laptop, a TV, plenty of closet space, clean and nicely decorated, private bathroom, and 2 amazing windows with equally amazing view!! To make your stay even more at home, you have a place to wash and iron your clothes, free snacks and bottled water if you run out. That’s the first time I ever felt so at home in a hotel! And at the top floor is a great sitting area with a panoramic view of Assisi visible through 4 arched windows. I LOVE this place, I could stay here forever!!
Assisi is best known for Saint Francis of Assisi who was born, lived, and died here in the early 1200′s. St Francis is also the patron saint of Italy, and each year on October 4, his Feast Day, Assisi celebrates as hundreds of pilgrims, tourists, political figures, and locals join in the festivities including parades, free classical concerts, a huge annual market, and every other year…. a peace march. The Basilica of Saint Francis is the most prominent church inAssisi that houses the tomb of the saint.
In early May, the locals of Assisi welcome Lady Spring with Calendimaggio, the annual Medieval Spring Festival…which will take place in just a few days, so I hope the weather will improve!!
Sometimes you get unexpected weather here in this Medieval hilltop town. I was expecting sunny spring days, but instead, arrived to cold and rain. In fact, once it didn’t just rain water, but ice…yep, a hailstorm. Even bad weather looks spectacular inAssisi!!
Weather like this make one more inclined to spend time indoors….with many indoor outdoor cafes in the piazzas, you can keep warm with a frothy cappuchino or spend some time catching up on your Facebook or Twiter in cafes that offer wi-fi.
There are many, MANY, opportunities to spend time indoors shopping….from fine art, antiques and jewelry, to souvenirs and local food and wine specialties. I’m a sucker for souvenirs and practical gifts, so I for a special baby boy, I stopped here just off the main Piazza del Commune for a personalized embroidered bib. Mom got a pair of kitchen mitts this ti
It’s worth taking a stroll up to Rocca Maggiore for a visit to the building said to have belonged to the family of Saint Francis, including the cloth shop that belonged to his father.
The view of Assisi and the Umbrian valley below is spectacular!
Pietro Bernardone was a wealthy merchant, but a life of luxury did not appeal to his young son Francis for long, when in his early 20′s Francis renounced his family’s wealth and embraced a life of poverty and helping the poor, thus earning his nickname, il Poverello, or the Little Poor Man.~ In the video I take you inside Chiesa Nuova, (the New Church), to a a stone hole in the wall closet in which young Francis is said to have been locked by his father after selling pricey cloth merchandise to raise money to repair the run down San Damiano after the crucifix there spoke to Francis and told him to fix the church.
The beauty of Assisi is that it preserved its history…If you take away the cars zipping through narrow medieval streets, the souvenir shops, the hordes of tourists and nuns with cell phones….you’d think you’ve gone back in time one thousand years…
Trattoria Pallotta - Vicolo della Volta Pinta, #2 (just off main Piazza del Commune)
Taverna dei Consoli - Via della Fortezza, #1 (just off main Piazza del Commune)
Trattoria degli Umbri - right in the main Piazza del Commune
Alla Madonna del Piatto Agriturismo - www.incampagna.com
Whether or not you’re staying there, be sure to take one of Letizia’s cooking classes, and visit Letizia’s delicious Food BLOG - www.madonnadelpiatto.com