Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A soggy Assisi

Well, I mentioned I might go to Todi today, but instead I found myself in Assisi, as one does... the bus is quite convenient. My first stop was the tomb of St. Francis, a crowded place; I was reminded that he is the patron saint of Italy, after all -- the man must be busy! I considered skipping the upper church, which is more richly decorated than the lower, in keeping with the ideas of the saint, but my Let's Go guide promised a room off to the side wherein I could view his tunic and sandals, so I bit the bullet and went up. No vestments in sight, unfortunately. Next stop was the Foro Romano in (where else?) the center of town. There's a bit of a lapidary collection, as all Italian towns seem to have. There are stones lining the halls of the excavated Forum. It's really nifty - the Roman level is a bit below the modern level, so it's all underground, walking along the original pavement and drainage ditches; half of the stairs up to the temple of Minerva are preserved. I hadn't realized that Assisi (Latin Assisium) had itself a monumental temple approach like those at Praeneste's Temple of Fortuna Primigenia and elsewhere... Assisi seems to have been the birthplace of the poet Propertius, and there's a "Casa di Properzio" lurking about somewhere, but I didn't encounter it. Lots of epigraphic evidence of the gens in the collection, though.

After the Forum, I went in search of the amphitheater, which turns out to have been consumed by the city; the Via dell' Anfiteatro Romano preserves the ovoid outline of the structure in much the same way that the streets outline Pompey's Theater in the Campus Martius in Rome. Then the rain came in, and I headed back to Perugia, where it continues to rain.

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