Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ascending Into Assisi The Birthplace Of St. Francis.....

About one hour by car from our present house sit in Umbria, Italy sits the mountain-top city of Assisi. Most famous for being the birthplace of St. Francis who founded the Franciscan Religious Order, the beautiful ancient city is a sight to behold.

Assisi From Afar

A Museum And Crypt

Born into a wealthy family of a silk merchant in 1181 Francis lived a high-spirited life and even joined the military. But it was after a serious illness where he had a spiritual awakening and a vision that convinced him to go back to Assisi. After a pilgrimage to Rome where he mingled with the poor he gave up his wealth and opted to live a life of poverty. Francis began preaching on the streets and developed a following. Today St. Francis is the patron saint of Italy and considered to be one of the most important religious figures of all time.

This Spot Used To Be A Stahl Where St. Francis Was Born
A Slab Was Found With An Inscription That Explained This

Italian Pastries

Frescos Everywhere

It was around 1000 BC that a wave of immigrants settled into the upper Tiber valley.  They called themselves Umbrians who lived in small fortified settlements on high ground. From 450 BC  these settlements were gradually taken over by the Etruscans. The Romans took control in 295 BC after the Battle of Sentinum and built a series of terraces high atop Mount Subasio. For anyone interested in more about Assisi please refer to the link below.

The Tomb Where St. Francis Is Buried

The Basilica Of St. Francis

Nuns And Friars Everywhere

Streets For Cars And Pedestrians

Panoramic View From Down Below

Assisi is not an easy city for sightseeing with plenty of hills to climb, narrow roads shared by pedestrians along with cars plus tourists. But climb we did to see the gorgeous buildings, breathtaking scenery and step back in time when St. Francis walked these cobblestoned roads. As usual let our photos take you along with us on our journey of today as we explored the streets of Assisi, Italy.....along the gringo trail.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

From Venice, To Tuscany, Italy.....And Beyond...

Today we are saying good-bye to the Veneto Region of Italy and we're headed into Tuscany and Umbria for more house sitting adventures.  Finishing up a house sit here in Giavera del Montello first, before heading to Venice to do the tourist thing for a few days. Stay tuned for tons of lovely photos of Venice, which is so far one of my favorite places in the world.

Castle San Salvatore

In the month we've been here we have fallen in love with the area, the people and of course the new furry friends we have made here.  Penny the older dog who is queen of her castle is a wired haired abruzzo, which is another word for an Italian hunting dog with airs. The new addition to the clan is Billy, an itsy-bitsy puppy rescue mix who is full of energy and trouble. Along with the two dogs is Fred the pudgy cat who only makes an appearance when he's looking for food, which seems to be five our six times per day.  He and Penny have a brother and sister like friendship and occasionally lay together on Penny's special couch or in a bed upstairs. Then there are a few chickens, a rooster and baby chicks outside to add to the ambiance of this hill-top country home.

Last day with
Penny and Billy

Our Last Walk With Penny
Notice The Green Poo Bag

Billy The 3 Month Old Puppy

Fred The Chubby Cat

And The Chickens

Miss Penny and

Sitting high atop the "Montello" one of the first hills in Giavera the house offers a spectacular view of the countryside below. The hill is blanketed with olive groves, rich grape vineyards, lush vegetation, farmland, churches, homes and plenty of life splayed out as far as the eye can see.

The House, Here
Penny's Castle

Church Next Door

Our Neighbors

Back Yard Terrace

Views From The House
Spotted A Hot Air Balloon This Day

Italy like much of Europe is a step back in time where old construction dates back hundreds of years. A nip of fall is in the air as apples are ripening everywhere, along with pomegranates, and grapes while leaves are turning brown and falling to the ground. 

These Little Chapels Can Be Found Everywhere

Nearby River For Irrigation

Another Tiny Chapel On The Corner

We are thankful for the opportunity to have lived here among the locals and given the chance to interact with them in their normal ways of life.  From our days at the "palestra," or local gym chatting with the staff and personal trainers about Italy, to our interactions with the owner of a small, "panetteria," or bakery. Then there were our trips to a small local grocery store trying to bridge the language barrier with the cashier and other workers there, for an always humorous challenge.

British Cemetary
Those Killed During WWI Here

Lovely Old Buildings

Ah the sounds, smells and tastes of Italy are something we look forward to so much more of. Tonight we'll be strolling along the canals of Venice listening to colorful gondoliers serenade young lovers as he paddles them and his gondola through the romantic canals.

Stay tuned for more stories as we head down the boot that is Italy for more adventures.....along the gringo trail.