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chilled me with an undefinable awe, with a sense of something mysterious and terrible. '—Dennis.
Many other tombs have been opened in the neighbouring h'llside, but are of minor interest. A small museum of the antiquities taken from them is shown close by in the Palazzone Baglioni.
Two miles from Perugia, on the Florence road, is a very perfect vaulted tomb, with an Etruscan inscription. It is called // Tempio di S. Manno, because it contains two blocks of travertine, apparently altars, in which grooves seem to have been cut for carrying off the blood.
The road to Thrasymene and Cortona passes the hill-set village and castle of La Magione, where the heads of the great feudal houses—Vitelli, Orsini, Bentivoglio, &c.—met to conspire against Caesar Borgia.
It is 40 minutes by rail (2 frs. 55 c. ; I fr. 75 c.; I fr. 25 c.) from Perugia to Assisi, and as the distance is only 12 miles, it is far better to drive thither (12 frs.).
There is an omnibus from the station to the town, which is 2 miles distant, I fr. It is better to take a little carriage (ij fr.) and to go to S. Maria degli Angeli before ascending the hill. Those' deeply interested in the life of S. Francis should visit Rio Torto also.
The Albergo Subasio, kept by Sgr. Andrea Rossi, is an excellent small hotel, in an airy situation with a delightful view, close to S. Francesco; pension 6 frs. a day. The Albergo Leone is in the middle of the town.
At least two whole days should be given to Assisi.
ist day. Morning. S. Francesco. Lower and Upper Church, and Monastery.
Afternoon. Chiesa Nuova. S. Chiara and S. Damiano.
2nd day. Morning. Good walkers should start early by the Cathedral to S. Francesco delle Carcere—a very hot walk in the middle of the day after March.
Afternoon. Revisit the Lower Church of S. Francesco, and, unless they are taken in going to the railway, visit Rio Torto and S. Maria degli Angeli.
No Englishman should try to visit Assisi who goes there steeled against all sense of beauty or goodness in the followers of a creed which is not his own; for it is impossible to have any just impression of Assisi which is not interwoven with the memory of Francesco Bernardone, son of Pietro Bernardone, and Madonna Pica his wife, who was born here in 1182. And however 'protestant' the visitor may be, he will be prejudiced indeed if he declines to draw many a simple lesson from what he sees, when he remembers the great influence which the beautiful life of S. Francis has had upon the whole Christian world, and how, in the words of one of his biographers'—
'S. Francis and his companions, having been called by God to carry the cross of Christ in their hearts, to practise it in their lives, and to preach it by their words, were truly crucified men both in their actions and in their works. They sought shame and contempt, out of love to Christ, rather than the honours of the world and the respect and praise of men. Indeed they rejoiced to be despised, and were grieved when honoured. Thus they went about the world as pilgrims and strangers, carrying with them nothing but Christ crucified; and because they were of the true Vine, which is Christ, they produced great and good fruits to many souls which they gained to God.'
After leaving Perugia, the interest of the journey thickens at every step. It is with a thrill of unspeakable interest and expectation that the well-read traveller first approaches Assisi, and he is not disappointed. Above the plains laden with their gorgeous wealth of corn, vines, olives, and melons, a steep promontory projects on the left from the surrounding mountains, its sides made more abrupt by long ranges of terraced arches supporting the church and the huge convent of S. Francis. Beyond the convent, the town, looking much larger than it is, scrambles and clings along the hillside, and ends in the tower of S. Chiara, which rises above the grave of the most devoted and romantic disciple of the great founder. Close by the very station itself rise the vast pile of buildings of the Angeli, enclosing the holy cell of the Porziuncula.
'The traveller who in our own day visits Assisi, finds himself sur
'Fioretti di San Francesco - the Fioretti are attributed to Giovanni da San Lorenzo, made Bishop of Bisignano in 1354.
rounded by a population of about three thousand souls; and amidst the thirty churches and monasteries which attract his eye, he distinguishes, as pre-eminent above them all, the Sagro Convento, where repose the ashes of S. Francis. It is a building of the sixteenth century, extending over the summit of a gentle eminence at the base of the Apennines. A double row of gigantic arches, resembling two vast aqueducts, the lower of which forms the basis of the higher, sustains a sumptuous terrace, which stands out against the evening sky, like the battlements of some impregnable fortress. The luxuriant gardens, and the rich meadows below, watered by a stream which gushes out from the adjacent mountains, encircle the now splendid church of S. Mary of Angels; where may still be traced the Porziuncula in which Francis
worshipped, and the crypt in which his emaciated body was committed to the dust. And there also, on each returning year, may be seen the hardy mountaineers of Umbria, and the graceful peasants of Tuscany, and the solemn processions of the Franciscan orders, and the long array of civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries, waiting till the chimes of the ancient clocks of the holy convent shall announce the advent of the day in which their sins are to be loosed on earth, and their pardon sealed in heaven.'—Sir J. Stephen.
The vast church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is one of the great works of Vignola (1569). Half destroyed by earthquake in 1832, it was restored by Poletti, but the cupola remained intact. Enclosed in the midst of the bare interior, the little Chapel of the Porziuncula stands gem-like, its front blazing with colour. Over the entrance is a beautiful fresco by Overbeck (partly taken from Tiberio d' Assisi) of the Saviour and the Virgin throned in glory, surrounded by floating angels—being the vision of S. Francis, when he heard a voice saying, 'They shall take neither gold nor silver, nor money in their purses, nor shoes, nor staff: this is that which I seek.'
This fresco is as it were an introduction to the study of Assisi, as revealing the motive-power which pervades the whole story both of the place and of the wonderful character to whom it owes all its importance. For it was in the little house of the Porziuncula that the first seven disciples
of S. Francis collected around him, having hardly room to lie down. Here, he first gave them a name, not Franciscans, as they were afterwards called, but Fratres Minores, the humblest of God's servants. Here he had his first vision of the future greatness of his order, and, waking from sleep, said to his companions, 'Be comforted, carissimi, and be rot sad because we are few, for God has shown me that ye shall increase to a great multitude, and shall go on increasing to the end of the world.' Here, standing at the door, he sent forth his first disciples, saying, 'Go, proclaim peace to men, preach repentance for the remission of sins. Be patient in tribulation, watchful in prayer, strong in labour, moderate in speech, grave in conversation, thankful for benefits.' And to each separately, as he bade him farewell —' Cast all thy care upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee.' And here also, after his male order was established, he received with torches the first female Franciscan, who had escaped in the night from her father's house, the beautiful Chiara—'Clara nomine, vita clarior, clarissima moribus.''
With strikingly good taste the greater part of the ancient chapel has been left almost untouched. The curious carved doors remain. The interior is black with age, though now covered with silver votive offerings and lighted by hanging lamps. Behind, on the outer gable, is a fresco by Perugino (much restored), of the Crucifixion: only the figures of the spectators remain. S. Francis is embracing the cross of the Saviour, the upper part of which has been destroyed in alterations of the church. A beautiful child standing near the fainting Virgin is unaltered.
No Christian should gaze upon the Porziuncula without remembering to whom it owes its existence.
'There were no church-building commissioners in those days. In their stead, a half-starved youth in the rags of a bedesman moved along the streets of his native city, appealing to every passer-by, in quiet tones and earnest words, and with looks still more persuasive, to aid him in reconstructing the chapel of La Porziuncula; a shrine of Our Lady of Angels, of which the remains may yet be seen, at once hallowing and adorning the quiet meadow by which Assisi is surrounded. "He wept to think upon her stones, it grieved him to see her in the dust." Vows were uttered, processions formed, jewels, plate, and gold were laid at the feet of the gentle enthusiast; and Mary with her attendant angels rejoiced (so at least it was devoutly believed) over the number and the zeal of the worshippers which once more thronged the courts erected in honour of her name.'—Sir J. Stephen.