Following our wonderful morning exploring Spello, we drove to Assisi, another ancient town dating back to 1000BC. Sometimes it is difficult to discern where the roads end and pedestrian ways begin when entering these old towns. I was more than a little alarmed to find myself driving into the main piazza. I hastily retreated down the first apparent exit and sought a car park outside the town walls. We re-enacted the initial entry, sans vehicle, and proceeded with our Assisi adventure.
In 238AD, Assisi was converted to Christianity by Bishop Rufino, his remains rest in Assisi Cathedral. Built in the 12th century and dedicated to San Rufino, it was in this church that Saint Francis of Assisi was baptized in 1182.
We wandered the streets of this beautiful town
before enjoying a delicious lunch at La Lanterna. I finally got the chance to try cinghiale (wild boar) in a sensational stew and Michael had superbly cooked maialino (suckling pig).
We walked off our lunch climbing to Rocca Maggiore,
a huge medieval castle built as a military fortress around 1174 on the summit of the hill.
Stopping to catch our breath, we were rewarded with spectacular views of Assisi.
The 13th century Basilica of Saint Clare featured majestically in the landscape.
There was much to explore at Rocca Maggiore.
This inscription commemorates Pope Pius II
who completed the polygonal tower in 1460,
as well as the passages linking it to the main fortifications.
The castle was extensively renovated in 2002 and there are fantastic exhibitions of medieval life, weaponry and musical instruments.
From the top, the 360° views across the Spoleto Valley and Assisi were breathtaking.
We ambled down the hill to town, had one last gelato for the road,
and returned for our final night at Il Castagno.