Anne’s “Insider” Tips

Always a joy to seek out new wonders here in Italy, “land of the endless discoveries.” Notes on many of our adventures are here below. Others are here. Share in the wealth.


Get Lost: in the Assisi Backstreets

I’m not sure that just a few days suffice for all the artistic wonders of Assisi: the Basilica di San Francesco with over 10,000 sq. m of the greatest frescoes in the world of the late 13th-century, early 14th-century certainly merits more than one visit and the Romanesque (1144 AD) cathedral of San Rufino and the pink and white limestone Gothic Basllica di Santa Chiara astound as well.

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Creating a Nest: il Nido Tranquillo

The idea to look for an Assisi apartment to rent came to me last fall. I did not look long. I knew that I wanted something small and in the quiet backstreets of the centro storico of Assisi. The apartment was furnished but not in a way that appealed to me.

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San Francesco’s Gestures

San Francesco di Assisi was certainly Italian. No doubt about it: just note how he gestures in various frescoes depicting him in his Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi. My favorite? The Pietro Lorenzetti early 14-th century fresco in the Lower Basilica. You can tell Lorenzetti was from Siena: note the almond-shaped eyes of the… View Article

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La Fontanella, Eating “Kilometro Zero”

Called in English, “eating farm-to-table”, the Italians call the savoring of fresh foods grown as locally as possible “mangiare kilometro zero”. Franca at La Fontanella (“the little fountain” – you can see it on the wall just to left of the wooden doors opening to this garden/eating spot)

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Holding All the Cards…

Briscola, scopa, tresette, centocinquantuno: the names of Italian card games are as intriguing as the motifs on the cards. Every small town – and not only the small ones – has a cafe’ where i giocatori gather after lunch and after dinner, at outdoor tables in good weather and inside in front of the ubiquitous… View Article

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“Santo Terremoto”? Earthquake in Assisi, 1997: a Saint or a Devil?

Saint or devil? Certainly, nothing “saintly: about an earthquake, though the term “Santo Terremoto” – utttered sadly, soberly here in Italy – refers to the reconstruction work generated by any natural disaster. Ironically, the restoration work following a tragic natural event can be a lifesaver to many in this moment of economic crisis. Sponsored by… View Article

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The Assisi Printer

Over eighty years old, Gastone Vignati is a retired printer now doing what he loves: lineoleum-block prints of “the city I so love, my Assisi”. As a young boy, Vignati worked alongside his father in the family print shop as his father had once done with his father. Pino and I came to the Assisi… View Article

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Pan Caciato

You know fall is in the air, when the Pasticerria Sensi on Corso Mazzini in Assisi has pan caciato in the window. “Cacio” means “cheese” in Umbrian dialect (“formaggio” is the word in Italian) and this tasty fall bread is made with pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese”) and walnuts.

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Gina, an Assisi Treasure

As you walk Assisi, especially, “Assisi di Sopra” (or “upper Assisi”, ie, the area round the Cathedral of San Rufino), you might be lucky enough to run into Gina, perhaps just back from a foraging trip in the mountainside fields just outside of the town.

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