[ Aug.2019 ] On the next day of our short holiday in Umbria in Italy, we went to Assisi by train from Perugia.
Assisi is also on a hill.
The train station was below the old town, so we took a bus to go up the hill.
The bus stop was in a square and we walked up the slope further to get to our destination, Basilica of San Francesco.
There was a square whose ground had the stripe pattern and at the end of that, there was the entrance to the Basilica.
The church was really beautiful.
The walls were full of lovely frescoes.
But unfortunately the photography was strictly forbidden.
The workers there were frequently shouting, “Silence!” and “No photo!”.
We went down to the Crypt where the grave of San Francesco was placed.
When we were there, they started a short mass.
Most of the tourists who happened to be there like us were reciting some words together in unison.
Our friend, who was travelling with us, bought a candle to light, but they were instructing us to put all the candles in one basket.
This basilica has two storeys and there was the mezzanine space between the ground floor and the upper floor.
We could see the beautiful two storey cloisters from there and at the end of the space, there was a shop.
I bought a bag with the pattern of the rose window of the basilica and a small pretty picture book called “The Life of Santa Chiara” written in Japanese.
Santa Chiara is a saint who started a female monastic order following San Francesco’s teachings.
There was a museum next to the shop, so we went there.
We saw the clothes of Santa Chiara, some things made of corals and so on and we were satisfied looking at them, but then the person in charge there called to us “Ask me anything”.
So I asked about the main exhibit for the special exhibition at that time, which was a bugle made of a horn.
He told us that this special exhibition was being held to commemorate the 800 years’ anniversary of San Francesco’s visit to Egypt and meeting the Sultan.
Nobody knows exactly why he went there, but they think that San Francesco probably wanted to convert the Sultan.
He made a bonfire and declared “I can walk on this” and challenged to the local religious leaders, “Can you do that?”.
The scene was depicted by the famous Giotto and its replica was placed in the museum.
The real picture is in the upper basilica.
San Francesco declined to receive many treasures given by the Sultan, but he accepted the password so that he could get back home smoothly and this horn bugle.
But again, people are not so sure about this, either, because this bugle was listed first time in the 14th century document and the label said that it was given from the Egyptian Sultan.
This bugle is supposed to have been used as the call for the mass and later two wooden sticks were added.
These are clappers and they were also used for the call.
By the way, within the famous The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, San Francesco’s expedition to Egypt is mentioned, too apparently.
It was very interesting listening to him, which made our visit more meaningful.