Thursday, July 03, 2008

Italian Journey - 18th to 24th June (Part 2)

After Siena we negotiate our way across the rolling hills of Tuscany to Caprese Michelangelo where we have a party to attend. Good food, good company, good fun.

The next day, for our sins, a visit to La Verna high in Tuscan Apennines. This is where Francis of Asissi built a monastery and acquired the stigmata (or suffered the side effects of malignant malaria - take your pick). It's an epic location, an eyrie. We saw some of his relics, his scourge, his poignantly ragged habit, and a few blood-stained bits of cloth. We also saw the damp cell where he slept - no wonder the poor man died prematurely. The monastery is still a place of sanctuary and repose. The food in the restaurant is vile though - St. Francis would have approved of the pain involved in eating it.

If you ever plan to fly home to Ireland from Ciampino - Rome's second airport and home to Ryanair - be sure to spend your last evening in Frascati, only 15 minutes drive away. We ate out near the main square amongst locals of all ages - making sure to sample the refreshing white wine for which the area is known.