May 12: Angela and Assisi

Today, we made our way to Assisi, the hometown and pilgrimage site of St. Francis, the patron saint of nature and animals.

While in Assisi, a shopkeeper told us that Angela Merkel was in Assisi. It turned out that she was receiving an award from the monks and she gave a speech about peace in Europe. I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence that she was in the same city we visited. We did miss St. Francis’ major cathedral in Assisi, but it was worth it for Chancellor Merkel to give a speech about peace.

The other fact that struck me today occurred in a Roman villa. The sign talked about how the Romans had to integrate the Latin and Italic people into the empire. Today, European countries still deal with the same issues of integrating people who are “different.” Yet when we think of Italy today we think of a unified country and not a lot of trips just “getting along.” will it just take a bit of time for all of us to think of ourselves as one?

 

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Mosaic in Roman villa in Spello

 

Earlier in the day, we visited a Roman villa in Spello, which was called Hispellum by the Romans. The town only became a true Roman town when Augustus gave it the title of a colonial town. Often times, we think of the Roman Empire as automatically being all of Italy, but it isn’t all of Italy. It’s all more complicated.

 

 

In both Assisi and Spoleto, which we visited second, we saw two places where the Romans were entertained: a coliseum and an amphitheater. The Coliseum, in Assisi, is now homes with apartments, dogs, and fountains all around. It goes to show how people can turn the old into new. In Spoleto, the Teatro Romano was “found” in 1800, and is used to this day for performances. Both of the old entertaining structures are used today, for modern life.

 

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Teatro Romano in Spoleto

It’s on to Firenze (Florence) tomorrow!

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