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Venice Rome Umbria

We took a couple of day trip from Rome into Siena and then Assisi via Orvieto. We did Siena by public transport and felt that we really lost a lot of time waiting for transport and organising tickets etc. Our tour to Assisi was just wonderful and we couldn't have done anywhere as much in one day on our own. It was an unforgettable day. The scenery around Umbria is lovely rolling hills and distant (slightly) snow kissed mountains, and the towns are just out of a medieval picturebook. You can imagine bumping into Michaelangelo or Galileo or da Vinci or maybe Catherine de Medici.

Orvieto - just the most perfect medieval town. Wonderful architecture, atmosphere and souvenirs! Very important for the tourist. unfortunately they were mostly "breakable" - so I had to settle for things like fridge magnets!

Siena - even in winter it is magical. I can hardly imagine the jostle in summer for the Palio di Siena!

Typical scenery with the trees just beginning to bloom - it was early spring.

Pottery items for sale in Orvieto

Typical pottery from Orvieto.

The magnificent cathedral in Siena.

A little side street in Orvieto.

The belltower of the Siena cathedral.

Walking the streets of Siena - isn't this just wonderful?

Piazza del Campo - where they hold the Palio. It must be unbelievable - horses with costumed jockeys racing around the Piazza at full-tilt!

The chruch in Orvieto was just outstanding.

Look at this wonderful facade - incredibly elaborate but somehow managing to not look overdone!

Another view of the church facade.

Siena was awash with these statues of Romulus and Remus - I don't know what the connection was!

The belltower on the Piazza del Campo in Siena.

The gates to Assisi.

The beautiful hillside town of Assisi - the "modern" town is below the hill.

The church of St Clare - she was the founder of the Poor Clares and a contemporary of St Francis.

Assisi is full of little shrines and wall plaques - mostly of St Francis.

The modern town below the hill. The church of St Mary of the Angels is here. Inside the church is the Portiuncular Chapel.

The exterior of St Mary of the Angels

From outside St Mary's you can look up the hill to the church of St Francis and the old town.

The earthquake of 1997 is still in evidence. The churches have been restored but there is still a lot of scaffolding and building work going on.

Inside the cloisters of the Church of St Francis.

This is a Pilgrim's House - set aside for accommodation for pilgrims over the centuries.

The full facade of the magnificent church in Orvieto.

A modern sculpture in the forecourt of the chuch of St Francis.

Looking down one of the streets of Assisi towards the new town.

Isn't this an absolutely beautiful Pieta? It is in the church in Orvieto

Another little wall shrine in Assisi.

Siena - bell tower on the Piazza del Campo

A street in Assisi.

A statue outside the old Temple of Minerva - I think it is now the Town Hall.

Sorry it is now clearer but - these are the toilets in the chuch of St Francis! Toilets really designed for meditation!

The Portiuncula Chapel inside St Mary of the Angels. St Francis physically repaired and restored this chapel. When, in a vision, God told him to "restore my church" - he thought that was what God meant!

The entrance to the church of St Francis. By founding the Order of Friars Minor (The Franciscans) St Francis did truly "restore the church". The church was just a bit corrupted in the 12th and 13th centuries!

Tending the olive trees in Assisi.

Umbrian scenery.

The Church of St Clare in Assisi