Just 15 minutes away from Spello by train is the town of Assisi, home of St. Francis (1181-1226). We took a day trip over there to check it out.
The train station is a bit outside of the old town, so you need to take a short bus ride up to where the interesting sites are. We started at the highest point, the Rocca Maggiore castle.
The fortress was already there in 1173 but mostly reconstructed in 1356. Inside there is an interesting museum of medieval life. We climbed the tower and walked along the ramparts.
We were on one of the towers when the noon bells started ringing.
We walked down through the upper part of the city to the main square.
It was crowded with people, most of them here to see the basilica dedicated to St. Francis and all the other sites related to the life of the saint.
I had two favorite sights in Assisi. The first was an ancient temple of Minerva that was repurposed as a Christian church in 1537 and renovated in Baroque style in the 1600s.
My other favorite was Assisi’s main attraction, the Basilica Papale di San Francesco. The basilica is the mother church for the Franciscan order of the Catholic church. Work on it was begun in 1228, the same year that St. Francis was canonized. It is full of gorgeous artwork but my favorite was the series of 28 frescoes in the upper church that depict the life of St. Francis. The paintings are traditionally attributed to Giotto but it seems that the serious art historians now say that is unlikely. Never mind, I think they are wonderful. I especially love the way the buildings look in the frescoes. They don’t let you take pictures so here is a link to the Wikipedia site.
Assisi is much bigger than Spello, with a lot more shops and restaurants catering to the tourist trade. Lots of guided bus tours coming through as well. It’s a pretty city and the sights are spectacular but I am glad we get to go home to quiet Spello.