Winding through the mini highways of Umbria that cut squiggly, gray lines into the wall of green mountains, Barbara read aloud the Saint Francis Wikipedia page. We all wanted to know a little more about the man who put medieval Assisi on the map for his miraculous life.
Born into riches, he was a boy with everything at his disposal, and inherited his father’s lucrative business. But soon, the money and power began to wear on young Francesco. He started to rebel, giving the money he made to poor people he met on the street. He hugged lepers, a death wish basically in that period of time, and had visions of Jesus instructing him to perform works like repairing ruined churches. Defying his father’s wishes, he decided to lead a life of poverty, giving up all of his earthly belongings in exchange for a burlap cloak. The weak, the sick, the outcasts; Francesco felt a “fever of love” towards them all. He received the stigmata, founded an order of monks and performed miracles. All in little Assisi.
Thinking about what this town must have been like 900 years ago was enough to set my nerdy history-loving heart all a flutter. And maybe it was the power of suggestion, but even with the tourism and modern shops, there was something strangely peaceful and quiet about Assisi that none of us could really pinpoint.