Italy 10: April 27, 2007 -- Visit to Assisi: Much shorter than we planned. No room in the inn -- notes from Bob and Sally

Bob Corbett's note:


In 1983 I first visited Assisi. And on that visit at the village beneath the hill town of Assisi, St. Mary de Angelis, I visited a restaurant. I was this naive U.S. kid (to travel) and the restaurant was closed from 2-8 as REAL restaurants were. I had no idea of this and sat on a bench in front of the restaurant for over an hour and when a man appeared from inside, I signaled I wanted food. He signaled back 8 P.M. I couldn’t believe such a thing. There weren’t any other places, so I sat.

About 7:45 PM the restaurant reopened and I was first in, only person. I got a bottle of wine, it was a 1 1/2 liter bottle (not my fault) and some bead. I couldn’t read the menu and asked if they had it in English and (as TODAY) they said no.

So I ate bread and drank wine, lots of wine. About 9 PM the restaurant was utterly filled. I got up (unsteadily since I'd had about half that giant bottle of wine, and took the waiter by the sleeve. We went table to table and I POINTED to what I wanted. The assembled diners gave me a huge applause. and much laughter was exchanged.

Today, 24 years later I returned to this Mom and Pop restaurant. It was now a very very very high class restaurant, and no one there knew "mom and pop" or at least would admit to it.

Sally and I chose a bottle of local red wine, and ordered a plate of olives, local, or so we thought. When they followed the DELICIOUS wine, they were FRIED olives, not nearly as fresh as our olives in Roma and I was truly upset. But, next arrived our shared plate of risotto and never in my entire life have I tasted a better pasta. Things were warming up. Two meat plates arrived next, which we shared. One was with two shish-kabobs of meat, veal, pork, beef and an unrecognized meat. (This is typical.)

We ate and ate and ate, including the great green beans, but couldn't eat it all.

A second bottle of wine followed but couldn't stop the overflow of food.

The restaurant closed, all the guest were long gone and the waiter, with great hesitancy, as us to pay! We gave a HUGE TIP, nonetheless, the total was less than the last two days in Roma where we paid normal prices.

Sally and I are now close to being certifiably DRUNK. but who cares, and we’re walking not driving.

We came to Assisi for quiet and rest. What a joke. The hotel across from the train station told us: ONE NIGHT ONLY. The place is booked solid for four days, a national holiday. So we have no choice, we will go to Florence tomorrow when we expected to visit Francis's hermitage, having today experienced all the major cathedrals of Assisi.

About the size of tiny Dogtown, about 5 X 7 streets, it has thousand of visitors already. But, we got into BOTH the upper and lower San Francisco churches and loved them.

Damn, we have to Assisi so soon. There is no room in the end. We asked EVERYWHERE.

Thus tomorrow in Florence......


Sally's note

Hello and Buongiorno from Assisi!!

Oh, what an experience!! We were at the train station before 6:00 am this morning ready for our train to Assisi. A bit confused though when checking the departure 'board'. It WAS early, but we never saw Assisi on the board, nor did we see the town where we would likely transfer to the other train to Assisi.

But Bob, the experienced traveler, found one of those luggage carts, left me at the one food place where it was warmest, and off he went to locate our gate and the 6 AM train to Assisi. And HE FOUND IT!!

He came back for me and said he knew the gate and we could board right then. We walked down to find the first class train car and waited until we thought it was time to board, and found two seats together in a totally empty train. But shortly afterward the lights came on.

It was chillier than I thought it would be and I got my jacket out of my backpack, and we waited until the conductor came by to check our tickets. After that it was only minutes until the train left Rome.

We were on our way from Rome to Assisi!!

When we arrived, Bob found a place for us to have some breakfast and then off he went to find a room. He was successful, though only for ONE night. Seems that there is something special this weekend in Assisi. And though we were going to stay another night, there are no beds in ANY inns here.

We are grateful that we found one room for tonight and off we went to sightsee and take the bus to Assisi. Our train it seems is to St. Mary of the Angels... the American version of the town. And we needed a bus to take us to Assisi itself.

But it was an amazing day, weather again perfect, and getting warmer as the day went on. Right now its 5:30 PM here and its perfect, I left my jacket in our room and took off my 'big' shirt, and have a light but long-sleeved shirt on.

We visited the two churches that were built on top of each other, one lower church and one higher church. Amazing with art work in the one by Giotto, and with a beautiful yard outside that has shrubs that spell out the 'peace' cross of St. Francis and the words 'PAX', lovely. The bus ride here from St. Mary of the Angels was lovely, we saw the hillsides of both St Mary of the Angels and Assisi with houses build into the hillside. And lovely fields of greens with red poppies interspersed in them.

It was a lovely day and we walked our 4 plus miles all over Assisi looking at any church we found and several, no... many of the shops along the way. We also stopped and had some gelato along the way.

Right now we have had a stunning meal at a restaurant or tratorria Bob remembered from a visit or two before, and after that we decided to stop here at this Internet Point cafe here in St. Mary of the Angels before we are planning to check out a few more shops before we head back to the hotel for the evening. We will wake tomorrow, shower, dress and pack up before we heading off to Florence!!

Not what we planned to do, but as there are no rooms here, and we are not sure of the nearby towns, we are just going to try for Florence. There we will do another regrouping and let you all know where to next!

What a day, weather-wise too, another glorious day!! Started out chilly, but warmed quite nicely, and total sunshine!!

Knowing how fortunate we are, and that we have had another amazing day, we are signing off.

Sally Ryan Sharamitaro




Bob Corbett