We didn’t go to Florence last week. We went to Assisi. Florence was full for some fashion shindig so we went to Assisi, home of the very famous St. Francis, San Francesco and Sainte Francois. It was a very well rpeserved medieaval town on a hillside overlooking a beautiful valley ful of olive trees. Assisi is a real religiuos pilgrimage spot where pilgrims can venerate his cloak, his sandals, some of his rope, locks of hair of Santa Chiara and so on. Not to mention both of their graves.

In the off-season however they rip up most of the streets to lay pipe and 80 percent of the restaurants close down for renovations. It disturbed the medieval atmosphere, but it was still neat to walk the narrow streets and staircases. But the assisi drivers seem to cope with these narrow streets and the constant tourists by driving as fast as possible. I would say roughly twice the speed you would consider safe for driving narrow winding medieval streets. That’s the norm.

The biggest mark in the favour of Assisi is that it’s not Rome. Chiara and I got out of town and had a literal and figurative breath of fresh air. Also great was our restaurant on Wednesday night. Simple wholesome vegetarian fare! Organic wine! It’s simplicity confused my palette, but in retrospect it was full. Not complex, full.
Somethign else that was apparent in Assisi but that they do in Rome and all over Italy is let you into gift shops for free. It’s actually not that uncommon, just about every shop in the world will let you in for free, but these rinky dink knickknack shops with “free entrance” advertised on the door really makes me shake my head. I guess people who go on vacation are dumb, that’s what those signs imply.

In other news: windiest city in Italy: Assisi.