After spending 3 days in Rome, East Carolina University Italy Intensive’s group travels north to Certaldo by bus. On the way we stop off at several different towns—Assisi being one of them. The Basilica can be seen from the surrounding lower hills. The bus slowly travels up a winding road to drop us off near the top of the mountain. We have several hours to explore the town, visit the church and try some delicious gelato or a quick panino. The Church has 3 different sections—the Upper Church, the Lower Church and the Crypt. The Church is a good example of the Gothic style in Italy and has many beautiful frescoes. In the nave of the Upper Basilica, the ceiling decorated with golden stars and a captivating blue. St. Francis is buried in the Crypt section of the Church. This Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Panorama photo by Chris Ellenbogen.
The name "Italy" is shrouded in mystery; some etymologists trace it to a Greek word meaning "the land of young cattle."Italy was fond of Jupiter and Mars from the very start, Jupiter for fatherly good luck and Mars for war!But it all began with Rome. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were sons of Rhea and Mars.The twins were abandoned at birth out of a fear that they would grow up and later overthrow Amelius, usurper of their grandfather's rightful throne.Wrongful mis-doings most foul! Treachery and sabotage!! HOW would these two blessed infants make their way in such a world?As it turns out, the twins didn't have to make their way very far, because one of them killed the other one and then they weren't twins anymore. But that happens later.First they got rescued by a she-wolf who suckled them with her milk and raised them as her own until they were discovered by the shepherd Faustulus.Faustulus fed them meat and bread and also raised them as his own until they were old enough to return to Amelius and hack him up as planned. They reinstated the grandfather Numitor to his rightful throne and went off to celebrate by starting a town of their own.They chose a hilly area where the mama wolf had saved them from certain death in the barren wilderness and began scouting locations.Romulus liked one hill. Remus liked another. The circle of crows like Romulus' hill, so Romulus killed Remus and named the town after himself. Thus Rome was born and Italy with it.Text by Steve Smith.