Our second day trip in Tuscany was to the town of Assisi. The town is most known to be the home of Saint Francis, who served in a little parish southwest of the city in the late 12th and early 13th century. Since that time the the Basilica de Santa Maria degli Angeli was erected around the original parish, and the Basilica de San Francesco d'Assisi was built on the hillside near the centre of town.
By this point in our trip we had been made well aware of the "local traffic only" zones where vehicles caught on camera without registered license plates were subject to hefty finds. Signage for these areas are often easy to miss so in order to avoid adding a few hundred dollars to our vacation we often opted for parking lots that were easier to get to driving and included a bit of extra walking. In Assisi this meant parking near the Basilica de Santa Maria and walking 45 minutes uphill to the Basilica de Santo Francesco. There was a paid lot near the second basilica that was pretty simple to get to, but the one at the bottom was free and we enjoy walking so we decided to get our exercise for the day. We also could have chosen to take a bus up the hill but then we would have missed out on some great photo opportunities along the way.
The route was super simple, straight up the main road with a wide walkway and then following signs once inside the town walls. At our feet along the brick path were the names of people who had completed the Pilgrimage to Assisi which was neat to read as we went. Our day in Assisi consisted of window shopping, wine tastings, Basilica visits, and a few scoops of gelato to hold us over on the drive back to our villa. Though we weren't able to take photos inside the buildings, one of my favourite parts was seeing the original one-room parish that Saint Francis preached in so long ago. Coming from a city where "old" means 1925, it was almost hard to comprehend the history that these buildings contain.
Though the hilltop Tuscan towns that you'll be seeing more of in coming weeks each had their own unique attractions, there were many similarities between them all. They were set up with narrow winding roads leading to a main square and grand church building. Without fail they each had astonishing views of the countryside below and picturesque stairways and alleys between buildings. The main roads were lined with shops containing unique art, cheap souvenirs, local wine, a mix of real and fake leather, and pasta, pizza, pastries, and gelato galore. Have a look below at what Assisi had to offer.