Cortona, Tuscany

From Perugia we drove to Cortona, another medieval town. It was full of persimmon trees, sometimes with the leaves blown off and just a crop of glossy orange fruit studding the bare branches. 

There were cats everywhere, and planters overflowing with succulents and geraniums, and hardly a person in sight. 

 Harvesting olives:

We drove on to Il Convento Frati Cappuccini, a monastery just outside of Cortona founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1211. Stone buildings, terraced, rise up Monte Sant Egidio with waterfalls cascading in front and a massive dome of forest behind.

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We visited St. Francis' cell, which had a short board for a bed, a half log for a pillow, and, previously, a Madonna replica on the wall that was stolen in 1972. (Who does that?) We walked a little ways into the woods. The bell tolled, the rope disappearing between the buildings; how many times has that bell rung over 800 years? We saw one other visitor - the beauty of traveling in November.

We came across a young, very pleasant, very attractive man who told us he was in the process of becoming a friar. It's no secret that I am fascinated by anything related to the Catholic priesthood. I so badly wanted to quiz him on his motivations, his influences and fears, his childhood, what his parents thought. I guess I could have asked him if he had a blog.

Remaining: Montecchelio + Montepulciano