Yesterday we headed out for the day (well actually half a day, as we didn't leave the villa until 11am). Our destination was Assisi - the birth place and home of St Francis of Assisi. I was expecting another small mountain village with a cathedral commemorating St Francis and lots of tourists. The first view we got of Assisi was a rather imposing town perched on the hillside with a large basilica at one end and a fort at the top. We wound our way up the hillside to a parking building and then walked through the narrow steep streets to the central piazza where we had a lunch break.
There were lots of tourists about but not overwhelming masses and, although it was still hot, it was much cooler than other days that we have been out and about - only in the low 30's. It was great walking around the town looking at the old buildings and narrow streets, but these hill towns are starting to look a bit the same!
We went into Basilica St Francesco (well Lionel & I did - Rebecca had her singlet top on and so couldn't go in, and Josh didn't want to) for a look around and went down St Francis' tomb. Lionel also discovered the relic room which housed all sorts of bits including a tunic, an ivory horn and some of his writings.
Assisi also looked remarkably fresh and well looked after, much cleaner than any other town we have visited in Italy. There is a lot of restoration work going on in the town and they obviously take a lot of pride in their town.
On our way home from Assisi we stopped at Perugia - a lovely place which we may have appreciated more if we had been there earlier in the day, or earlier in the holiday. We did visit the Etruscan (pre-Roman) Arch which was the main entrance to the town, and looked down on the Roman aqueduct which supplied the town with water. The view of the aqueduct was a little underwhelming but it did serve to remind us of the great engineers that the Romans were - amazing that they could build aqueducts that carried so much water great distances, over 2000 years ago.
One of the reasons for stoping in Perugia was to visit the supermarket - we are now well used to the workings of Italian supermarkets and quickly purchased our fruit (remembering to weigh it), got a number to purchase our meat (and with lots of pointing and limited Italian got what we needed), bought some cheese and another bottle of red wine. We also remembered to take our own bags (you pay for plastic bags here) and had the chilly bin in the car to pack our fridge items.
We were home about 7.30 and so Jane & I got onto tea preparation - we made some salads and cooked kebabs and sausages on the charcoal bar-b-cue. We finally ate at 'Italian time' of about 9pm...but it was worth waiting for!