Do you want your "madman's license"?
Religion and spirituality in Gubbio and Assisi
Here we are, in the homeland of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
My slow tour of Gubbio starts from the main square, that is a terrace and offers an amazing point of view on the landscape. Gubbio is popular for the history about Saint Francis and the wolf, but there is much more to say about this borgo. I visited a typical pottery craft shop: pottery is an art and here you can find a unique technique of using colours. I turned three times around a fountain called “Fontana dei Matti” (mads’ fountain) and I gained my local madness licence!
Then I went out of the usual touristic trails and I climbed up the Mount Ingino, where Monastery Saint Ubaldo overlooks the city. Enjoy an incredible view from here: the mountain is covered with cypresses and there are a lot of interesting glyphs, small sculptured stones. Somewhere around here, there is also a mysterious cave: the legend tells that a saint eremite used to live into the cave, and now the place encloses some secrets that have made people curious since the ancient civilizations times. The art expert Mario Farneti explained me that this amazing scenery would have been Arnold Bocklin‘s inspiration to paint is famous masterpiece “The sacred wood” (1882).
As I am around here, I take advantage to visit my friend Jacopo Fo. Over twenty years ago Jacopo decided to locate in Santa Cristina the headquarter of his project University of Alcatraz, based on ludic, theatrical and ecological activities and prospects for a New World. I spent such a good day together with a lot of different people.
Umbria is a realy inspiring land, where you can find a lot of ideal places for meditation, like hermitages and monasteries. For example the site Ananda, the International Spiritual Retreat of Yoga, Meditation and Self-discovery, based on the philosophic principles of the popular master Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. I had a very interesting day here and I suggest everyone to try the local vegetarian restaurant! I bought a recipe book, maybe one day I will be able to become vegetarian…
My touristic spiritual journey continues to Assisi, homeland of Saint Francis. Into the great Basilica of Assisi, you can admire Giotto’s wonderful frescoes about Saint Francis’ life. I also visited the Saint’s tomb, the touristic and spiritual city-centre with pilgrims coming every day. As a monk told me, the city has always feared that the spoils of the Saint could be stolen and displaced, because of the various incident happened all over the world, for example San Nicholas’ spoils illegally stolen in Turkey and brought to Bari.
There are not only Saint Francis’ spoils here, but also Saint Clare’s ones. Clare was a very determined and faithful girl, she has even been dedicated a musical that goes on stage almost everyday at theatre Metastasio. A group of professional and amateur guys, directed by the association “Dare theatre company”, worked hard for months (just like “Fame”!) to realize the show with the coordination of Annamaria Bianchini, director and performer.
Main pic of Assisi courtesy of Chris Yunker (Flickr user)