I spent a full day in Assisi, walking up hills and down hills. There was a wonderful sense of adventure as the streets have small alleys branching off and interconnecting with other streets. There was a continuous feeling of discovery as I wandered around bends, hiked up steps and wound through narrow streets. Assisi is on the side of a large hill, so it obviously slopes downhill, but it also goes downhill on the opposite plane, making for a lot of inclines and steps! It is really amazing to see the various Roman arches that indicate where the city walls were and where expansion took place. One road shows three expansions, a very early arch, one from an expansion in 1265 and another from 1316.
It wasn't very crowded today, so I really got a great feel for the place in a quiet atmosphere. I saw the Rocca Minore and the Rocca Maggiore, both medieval fortresses. I toured the inside of the large fortress, which was historically and architecturally intriguing. It also provided an excellent view, since it is on the top of the hill that Assisi is situated on. I spent a good amount of time at the cemetery just outside the city walls. It was a contemplative place with abundant artwork and a beautiful view. It didn't have the forsaken feel of so many other cemeteries, the dead were not forgotten with the scent of fresh flowers by numerous graves, old and new.
I visited many churches today, but the church I enjoyed most was St. Stephano. It is one of the oldest churches in Assisi and was built very plainly by stonemasons. It was the most unadorned basic church I had been in so far, but there was something about the beauty of the sparse space, with only a few faded frescos and low lighting, which provided dramatic shadows.