Remembering St. Francis in Assisi

Basilica of St Francis Assisi - Lightmatter

I am not sure when I first heard about St. Francis. As a Jew, I would not have heard it in synagogue, but in school they taught both the Old Testament and the New. I have always loved the stories. Who would not? He talked to the animals. He lived in a cave, surrounded by them. He worked with the poor and protected them. So when the new Pope took the name Francis, it reminded me of our visit to ... Read Full Article

Five Fabulous Festivals in Umbria

Umbria-- with its bucolic patchwork landscape of vineyards, olive groves, and tiny medieval stone hilltowns--is not known as a big party destination. The Umbrians are generally a staid and reserved populace, and the rolling hills and sleepy villages that characterize this region in central Italy lend themselves more to contemplatively sipping cappuccinos in tiny piazzas than bacchanal excess and ... Read Full Article

Italy from Bottom to Top: Assisi and Camping at Pian di Boccio

Upon arriving in Perugia, I picked up the rental car (26 euros/day) and headed for the nearby town of Assisi. The hilltop city, complete with gothic steeples, looked beautiful, and I’m sorry to leave before fully exploring it. Fortunately, I’ll be returning after tomorrow’s Cantine Aperte, Italy’s epic wine-tasting event. I’m writing to you now from a wooden tent in the Pian di Boccio ... Read Full Article

Assisi, Italy: A Place of Pilgrimage


  St. Francis, born in 1181 to a wealthy silk merchant and his wife, was definitely no saint to begin with. He partied and drank with his friends and generally got into trouble. Even after being imprisoned for a year during the war between Assisi and Perugia, he returned to his extravagant ways. But then, the story goes, he met a beggar and was so struck by the misery he saw that he gave ... Read Full Article