Santa Francesca Of the Dogs
What I remember about Assisi was how I would walk out onto our balcony every morning and the valley below was shrouded in fog. Everything had a kind of pinkish glow, and huge flocks of birds would suddenly lift off from one rooftop and fly in swooping, Busby Berkley-esque formations to the next rooftop. I got to see the Giotto frescoes before the big earthquake that destroyed them, and the whole few days was one big swoon. We went in January (golly, that was 9 years ago already - I was turning 30) and there was no one around but the occasional nice little group of Japanese tourists.
So I can imagine myself there this summer, even with that weird "who am I without my church" summer malaise I always get into, just soaking in some Jungian theory and happy to simply be there in that medieval setting.
Assisi is the one place in the world that I think is equally romantic whether you're totally solo or totally in love. You feel like a lover of life in Assisi. Go ahead and laff. But Virginia's not for lovers. Virginia's for right-wing nut jobs and really nice magnolia blossoms in the spring. ASSISI is for lovers, man. You're not at all surprised to learn that two major saints came from there, as you think it you only spent a few more days, you might score a major mystical vision or two yourself.
I'm seriously thinking of taking the course, although it's expensive and I've already been there, and there's that whole country called SPAIN that I'm dying to see...
I forgot to tell you how I was walking up this big hill to the Rocco Maggiore when I was there, chatting away to this little raggedy stray dog who walked the whole way with me (I have photos of him that I should post sometime). A group of schoolboys were following my progress from the bushes, shouting that I was crazy and calling me "St. Francesca of the Dogs." I know enough Italian that I could tell what they were saying.
It's my favorite nickname ever. Oh, in case you didn't know: the two saints from Assisi are St. Francis and Saint Claire.