Thursday, September 19, 2013

More Christmas Festa in Assisi!

The fullness of joy
is to behold God in everything.
~from Meditations with Julian of Norwich by Brendan Doyle

I woke up on the morning of December 8th, and opened my shutters, to look out my window. Birds went flying off the rooftops, and the morning sun hit the billowing white smoke, as it left the chimney stacks. It was cool, crisp and beautiful.

Down in the breakfast room, I had my muesli, yogurt and cappuccino, and headed out to see what the Christmas Festa would have in store. Anne had emailed a list of the "goings on" and there was something about musicians on that timeline, and I didn't want to miss it!

When I got down to the square, I saw this little Nutella crepe cart and had to take a picture for my friend Marlene, who eats Nutella like it's her job. As I recall, her husband told me years ago, he found her in bed one night, asleep with a banana in one hand and jar of Nutella in other.

I headed back in the tent and bought several ornaments, for family members, that I had spied the night before, as well as a couple of hand carved, olive wood, cooking spoons.

I also found a couple of musicians and decided to follow them ... running out ahead to get a good shot! (Trying not to make too much of a spectacle of myself!)

They headed down from Piazza Commune, toward the Basilica of Saint Claire.

Looking toward the right, in the photo below, would be the Piazza of Santa Chiara and the basilica itself.

What I found there, was a little train for the kids ...

And a whole other huge tent! This photo, below, was taken at different time of day, but I wanted you to get an idea of the size of the tent. I am standing on the steps of the basilica looking back up toward the middle of town, (Piazza Commune) and on the hill, you can see the Rocca Maggiore, where I'd been at the bonfire the evening before.

Inside the tent ... Instead of ornaments, trinkets etc., I found food!!! All sorts of local Umbrian foods!

My favorite booth! It had all sorts of truffle items, or "tartuffo," in Italian. I ended up with truffle cheese to take to my friend, Vincenzo, that I would be staying with in Genoa.

Christmas music played and I explored the decorations, in the tent. They were all food and beverage related ... and so cute and creative!

I also picked up some boar sausage for Vincenzo. Funny, I don't really eat pork in the states but when I go to Italy, I eat things that oink, like my friend Marlene eats Nutella. 
(Well, maybe boars don't exactly oink ... )

The wine tree ...

Loved the pasta tree! So cute!

At one point, "All I want for Christmas, is You" came on in the tent, (You know, the song from the movie Love Actually?) and this 4 year old girl, with little brown ringlets, started dancing ... and got all these teenagers dancing with her! It was so sweet and joyful, and it really felt Christmas!

From joy I came,
For joy I live,
and in Thy sacred joy
I shall melt again.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

Outside the tent, Christmas trees, with handmade decorations ...

And from Piazza Santa Chiara, one of the best views from Assisi ...

Cutest bank and ATM you'll ever see ...

I decided to head back to the hotel wi-fi, to find out if I'd heard from any of my new friends. We'd been told about a concert down the hill, at Santa Maria degli Angeli, in the afternoon. It would be a singing Franciscan monk! I thought, this was definitely another thing that could not miss!

On the way to my hotel, I stopped at "Oggetti Assisi." 

My friend Caroline and her family had been to Assisi in October, and before I left for my trip, she handed me an envelope with a business card and some Euros, from her and her mom. "Go buy a scarf, at this little shop! We thought of you when we were there!" So thoughtful! 

The shop was darling, and the scarves were on sale! I must have tried on 10 of them! Poor guy had to refold them but anyway, I told him it was a birthday present from my friends who'd come in, from the States, in October. "Your birthday!!! Happy Birthday." He was adorable and maybe in his late 20s? Cute.

Anyway, he was very happy about my birthday and happier, I'm sure, about my friend recommending the place, and he gave me an even better deal! So, I got two scarves for myself and then I picked one out for my sister!

They are a silk and cotton blend ... light and wonderful. The two, above, are the ones I picked for myself. Below, is one of the ceramic ornaments I bought. Cute, huh? I got one for each of my nieces. Love the angel's blissed-out expression.

I checked my email and Edna, my new flight attendant friend. She had planned to head out for work that morning, but decided to stick around one more day, to go the concert. I dumped my goodies at the hotel and headed down through town to meet her at Franca's restaurant, and then Franca would take us down to the concert!

On my way through town ...

Joy is an intermezzo of gratitude
that interrupts
the routine motion of life.
~Lewis B. Smedes 
in How Cant it Be All Right When Everthing is All Wrong?

Love all the sandals. Being so cold, though, I wan't in that mode. Plus, I had gotten a pair of sandals on my last trip to Assisi,  that my Mom calls my "monk sandals" or "Francis shoes." Aren't they great?

The photo everyone takes in Assisi ...

I finally headed to La Fontanella, where I had been the night before.

Home of 
Bernardo Quintavalle

And then I realized, in the light of day, that Fontanella is right next to the residence of Bernardo Quintavalle! O.K., there is a really good chance you don't know who that is. I didn't, until reading a few biographies of Saint Francis of Assisi. 

Bernardo Quintavalle, was one of Francis' closest companions, who'd gave up a wealthy, privileged life in 1209 (he gave all his money to the poor) to become one of his first followers.  Bernardo died peacefully, as Francis had predicted, in ca. 1245, 15 years after Francis. He is buried in the right transept of the lower Basilica of San Francesco.

Here is Edna, bundled and ready for the concert!

Here is the La Fontanella's patio, where it's definitely too cold to hang out in December. At least while I was there. I'm not sure why I didn't get a shot of the view, but I guess I will have to go back in the spring! ;)

Next up ... off to see the singing monk! And then ... the big tree lighting at the Basilica Saint Francis! 

Joy is the infallible sign
of the presence of God.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Blessings and light!


Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Just stunning. Every.Single.Image!! Puts me in the mood for the holidays!

Unknown said...

Cara Lucinda, foto bellissime......spero di rivederti primavera!!!!! baci Franca

donna baker said...

What an incredible town. I bet you loved it there.

Unknown said...

Oh, what fun to follow your travels. Beautiful photos!! So interesting!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Keller,
I know this must be quite annoying as I stumbled on your blog by chance; I don't want to disrupt other, actual comments but there seems to be no way of approaching you by email. I wonder if I could borrow (as you say on this page, I ought to ask) the photographs of Papal carriages from March 22nd (of Popes and Popemobiles) for a Catholic blog?

Your trip to Italy must have been, if I may, very interesting. I have never had the pleasure of seeing the heart of Christendom. I imagine it must feel like coming home.

Faithfully yours,
Patrick J. Gray

Loree said...

Why is Italy so beautiful? I just long to go back. Every one of your posts about Assis has been like pleasant torture :)

Loree said...

I meant Assisi, of course.

Victoria said...

Oh wowness...stunning..sublime images..I am all sparked up now!Thanks so much Lucinda for sharing such a deeply beautiful visual journey of bliss...I was smiling throughout!Your photography is superb and seem to capture that extra bit of soulfulness that is amazing!Your photos truly translate through on many levels!! Ha ha.. so cute, I laughed..nutella is a favorite here too..and when I was a kid at school..the others kids could not believe my mother made me chocolate sandwiches for lunch!
HUgs and blessings..thanks for this beautiful dream!

Amanda Summer said...

Everything about this place - and this post - is pure magic. You have such a beautiful blog, Lucinda, what a pleasure to visit here.


Kerry O'Gorman said...

How beautiful it all is! Love that first shot...what a treat to awake to such beauty!

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for the comments, my friends! So fun to look back and remember everything from last year!

Unknown said... your blogg or rather my family are from assisi it's a beautiful place to has changed over the 40 years I've been going there.but you can still feel the centuries of life that was there before all of us..great memories for me as a child being left there with my sisters and bro,all summer would come back 2 months later and fetch us...great times...and now I'm just about to take my grandchildren to see the wonders of this little town..assisi...x