The charming town of Assisi was the next stop, and after a four hour bus ride, the
group stepped off the bus and inhaled the fresh air of Assisi’s higher elevation.
Students and faculty alike were quick to fall in love with the sights of the hill
top town. After becoming orientated to the city, students put some miles on their
shoes as they explored the home of St. Francis and St. Clare. Many students chose
to make the small hike up to Rocca Maggiore where they could explore the old fortress
and enjoy an amazing view of the city and nearby farm lands. Another popular site
was the church of San Damiano. The famous San Damiano cross had just been moved down
to its original home in the Chapel, giving students a wonderful and unique opportunity
to experience a piece of Catholic history. After all the walking the group re-fueled
with some homemade pasta! Yum!
The following day in Assisi began with mass at the Basilica of St. Francis, followed
by a tour of the Basilica by Friar Martin, a New York native who made the frescos
come alive. Throughout the tour Fr. Martin reminded students to thank their parents
for this experience and to make good decisions. In the afternoon, brave members of
the group hiked up to the hermitage of St. Francis. Following fairly steep paths,
students were excited to see their activity trackers read that they had climbed 180+
flights of stairs! They found much needed rest and peace at the mountain top hermitage.
A final visit in Assisi was to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli before continuing
on to Florence. Florence’s urban scene brought a new kind of excitement to the students,
and they enjoyed generous amounts of free time there. They often returned to the hotel
with victory stories of bargaining with leather merchants and the new bag or pair
of shoes to prove it. After having pasta and pizza day after day students also enjoyed
kebabs and burgers along the way.
The vast array of outstanding art is omnipresent in Florence. The professors continually
shared their insights on tours through the amazing collections at the Uffizi museum
and San Marco museum. Prof. Marchetti’s references to Dante focused on the poet’s
literary importance as well as his love for the city of Florence, which UD students
could relate back to Lit Trad II. After long days of shopping and touring museums,
students still had plenty of energy to seek out Florence’s night life at the Ponte
Vecchio and Irish themed pubs.