San Francesco is not the patron saint of the medieval hilltown gem, Assisi. He is the patron saint of Italy along with Catherine of Siena. Each year on his feast day, October 4th, one of the twenty regions of Italy brings the oil which will burn all year in front of his Tomb. Trentino Alto Adige’s turn was this year. An array of colorful banners of the cities of this northern Italian region were born in procession by their mayors or the town policemen and the mayor of Assisi, president of the Region of Umbria and other local officials followed. The trumpeters of Assisi in medieval dress had opened this procession, headed to the Tomb of St. Francis, in the Basilica.
The day after the Festa, Oct 5th, the town of Assisi becomes an open marketplace as the annual street fair, la Fiera di San Francesco, winds its way through the medieval alleyways. Very early in the morning, 150 vendors (from all over Italy) set up their booths and most of Assisi is a street market until sunset…
(Part II to follow…)
– Contributed by Anne Robichaud. Anne has lived in Umbria since 1975 with her Italian husband Pino. They farmed for many years and raised three children. Anne offers guided tours of the Umbrian hilltowns and cooking classes in their Assisi countryside farmhouse. She writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. See www.annesitaly.com for more articles!