Assisi is a quiet hill town in the central region of Italy called Umbria. Umbria is highly underrated in terms of beautiful terrain, often overshadowed by Tuscany's popularity. It is easy to understand why Assisi is a popular tourist and pilgrim spot. It is situated on the top of a mountain yielding absolutely unbelievable views of the surrounding area.
St. Francis was born here and established the Franciscan order. The basilica itself is beautiful, built in 1230, it is actually two basilicas, one on top of the other. It survived a large earthquake in 1997, and was closed for two years to fix it. Inside the lower basilica, there are several great frescoes by Giotto and others showing the life of St. Francis, Jesus, and even Mary Magdalene.
We had a leisurely afternoon exploring the town and I got a meringue that was as big as your head. It was awesome. Dinner, as usual, was pasta, chicken, and french fries. Carb it up!
The next morning we drove south to Pompeii. I should not even get started on the coolness that is Pompeii, the town that was tragically covered in 40+ feet of 800° F volcanic ash in 79AD. I learned that it is special not only because it gives us a look into live nearly 2000 years ago, but a look into one single day that ancient people led. The ruins were discovered in 1700something and are still being excavated. It is amazing how much survived the eruption, frescoes, buildings, mosaics, pots, loaves of bread. Even bodies remained intact, forever frozen in the ash.