By GenuineBlip

Via degli Ulivi

Another beautiful day for another bike ride! Today we cycled along the Via degli Ulivi (Way of the Olives) from Spello to Assisi. Fortunately the ride from one medieval hilltop town to another did NOT involve going all the way downhill and then all the way back up again. Although the ride was still ‘saliscendere’ (up and down), we stayed up along the mountain, so the ups and downs were not extremely steep. We arrived to Assisi, parked our bikes and had our ususal ‘due cappuccini’, then strolled the town. Assisi was filled with a unique blend of religious and trekking tourists. There were many groups of nuns, priests, brothers and church groups eager to soak in the aura of St. Francis of Assisi, and many other groups with hiking boots and trekking poles eager to walk the forest paths of Mt. Subasio where St. Francis walked, prayed and lived in caves. We ate our bagged lunch in the portico in front of the Basilica of St. Francis. We did not join the crowds going inside the cathedral, but I recall being quite moved on past visits by the immense colorful fresco cycle of the life of St. Francis and nearly wept when I saw the actual robe that Francis wore. We escaped the crowds for a quick quiet stroll in the adjacent nature preserve, the ‘Bosco di St. Francis’ - it was once a place of execution, that Francis turned into a peaceful place of prayer. To fuel up for the ride back, we made a gelateria pit stop, where the beauty and pleasure of the art of gelato is exemplified by the elegant cone display echoing the elegance of the Venetian glass chandelier. (Extra)

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