When booking our trip to Rome, I gave my family and I four days in the city just to be sure we were able to “see it all.” After two and a half days we decided we had seen enough, so we spent one of our days exploring a different part of Italy. A bit north of Rome is a city called Assisi, which is a well known city among catholics as this is the city where St. Francis is from.
Growing up I remember reading the above prayer on the wall of my moms bathroom, and although I don’t know a lot about Catholicism (despite being raised Catholic) I have always been aware of St. Francis. He was also a big animal lover, so he and I would have been pals for sure. Assisi is in the region of Umbria, which is often called the green heart of Italy.
The city sits high on a hill, and the drive up is a bit steep. There are two things that make me nervous when driving a car: driving up steep gravel roads, and driving in places I am unfamiliar with. Navigating Rome in a car was only stressful when I had a hard time finding the streets to turn on, because there is no room for pause in that city.
Mopeds drove wherever they wanted, the streets were always packed, and the people drove quickly. A slight pause in the road would have resulted in a honk or a bumper bump.
When we were driving out of Rome towards Assisi, I had hoped because we were leaving early in the morning that the locals would still be asleep. Once again I was wrong, and it seems that no matter what time of day it is in Rome, the streets are chaos. I felt surprisingly calm driving in Rome overall, and most of the time we were laughing at the clusterfuck of the other drivers, but I wouldn’t do it again.
After getting far enough away from the city, I was able to breathe a bit easier. We arrived in Assisi around lunch time, so we stopped at a market for me to grab something to eat. I bought a can of tuna, because Italian tuna is packed in olive oil and it’s SO good. I realized I didn’t have a fork, so instead of using my fingers I used the lid of the can.
No cuts happened while eating this tuna.
After some snacks we found a place to park the car near the city center and walked around for a few hours. Assisi is a small town that doesn’t require much time to visit, a half day was more than enough for us. We went inside two churches, ate some pizza and cannolis, and bought some locally made olive oil.
The Italian man I bought my olive oil from was a local of Assisi. He spoke great English and was very handsome. Tall and lanky, one of my types, but then I saw him later in the day smoking. ALL.THE.CUTE.EUROPEANS.SMOKE. I guess despite their love for the environment, they haven’t fully caught onto the problem of smoking.
After we spent our time in Assisi, we headed back towards Rome for our final night. Along the way we found a basilica to check out. I love road trips because of the flexibility they provide. A lovely day in a new city, and another bucket list visit for my mama.
My sister was such a champ on this trip, and she kept her cool no matter what we did. My sister has autism, and she used to not handle stressful situations well, but these days she rolls with the punches like it’s nothing. She would laugh harder than my mom and I when we were navigating the chaotic streets of Rome.
I think her laugher is what kept me laughing. Life is too short for anything but laughter.
Q: Have you heard of Assisi?