I do not believe that this or any blog will actually capture the beauty that we have been able to see or will see on this trip. We started our trip out in Siena exploring different museums under the guide of Dr. Cook. In Siena we learned about the “Palio,” a horse race between the different “Contradas” or neighborhoods that is held twice a year, how to read the fresco works of art, from how the style changed throughout the time periods to the mindset of the masters who painted them, and we even learned where the best pizzeria was. A few of us even adopted some Italian fashion in the form of ridiculous sunglasses, needless to say this was a fun city.
I thought I was going to be sad leaving such a beautiful city as we moved to Assisi, but then again I forgot that we are in Italy. When we were driving up the hill to Assisi I was awestruck by the beauty of the façade of the city. It is built on a mountain and is a very hilly and sinuous city. The first day here we explored the lower church of the Basilica of St. Francis. Dr. Cook took us through and explained to us the stories in the frescos, including placement of each and why they picked certain frescos. We even saw the tomb of St. Francis in a chapel under the lower church. It was a very humbling experience to think of the religious pilgrims whom traveled such great distances to see what we were seeing. Our second day we woke up to a good hotel, breakfast and a view that, to say the least, puts my morning views in Crawfordsville to shame! I have included a picture in the blog of this view from the balcony where we ate our breakfast. The second day in Assisi we explored the upper church of the Basilica, where there were even more frescos to interpret and draw connections between. My favorite part of the second day was our trip to Greccio, a small town with a chapel where St. Francis built a crib for the reenactment of the nativity scene. It is a small chapel surrounded by nature and where St. Francis came to get away to contemplate God’s plan for him. It was a very serene environment and one that instantly drove me to reflection. I am extremely excited for what the rest of the trip has in store for us. Ciao!
Timothy Cheek ‘10