Day 6: Assisi, final day here

My last full day here in Assisi, and it's hitting hard that sadly I don't get to enjoy this village much longer. I have yet to think of anything that I haven't enjoyed about this beautiful and old mountain. After visiting the monastery of Francis I definitely was beginning to have a big perspective change, and then today I was given a chance to just relax.

      Though living in this place for a few days, I only knew a little, and starting from last night my knowledge and comfort grew...well was stretched a bit more then simply grew. We had a guide who came and taught us about the culture, and the people, and specifically their gestures. I'll skip all the boring talk stuff, and just talk about how I was definitely unsure about where I stood on the issues of family, community and religion that she presented. It was interesting to notice. I think it was maybe simply discomfort, but I think a bit of it had to also deal with maybe my upbringing and Christian viewpoint that I've been developing over the past several years.
      It wasn't anything major, but just simply struggling through ideas. I loved it in the end, but it was a struggle. She was interesting, and I think her bluntness and loud nature had a part in my issues with what we talked about.

      So moving from that into this new day, she became an awesome friend and guide for the city. I knew stuff about the city a bit. We had seen some cool Gothic churches, and yesterday as written we were in mass surrounded by beautiful Frescos. We had seem some old foundations, and even a church that was evidentially something before, but we didn't have context set. I'm all about context. It's interesting, but when context is set things click, and I start getting that wow factor (hence why I think I've been wanting historical context over tourist context so much on this trip).
      I got to touch...not saying I was allowed to...but I got to touch a Giotto fresco in the lower cathedral in the St. Francis Basilica. That is how I want to start this idea of context. Anna, our guide, definitely gave me that context today. Hearing the history, and then hearing info I knew from art history classes...IT WAS GREAT!!! That may come off intense, but sadly words here cannot show the look I had on my face well, as I would go wide eyed as we wandered the underground part of the cathedral..oh and when I saw the grave of St. Francis. That moment of seeing his clothes, his handwriting, put everything in to context, and it made things so much more real. I think that's one of those things that is unexplained but  understood, when things just click and become real, because I simply don't have any good words to express it. I wish I could better explain what I feel when I see these pieces of art. Its like an peaceful excitement. It's a bit of awe, but then its also a shock at what I'm seeing.
       Art to me is trying to solve itself in my mind. I have had even as I was trying to talk about it this talks about art. I don't where I land some time on art, but I am discovering a greater appreciation for these frescos.....Why do they move me? Is it just some starstruck emotion, or is this just the message and emotions being conveyed as the artist intended? I don't know. I hope this trip keeps shaping my art, and keeps evolving my eye so that my art grows and becomes clearer and more purposeful with less hesitation and doubt.
      As we walked around I discovered new facts, like some of the roads are Roman Roads...roman.like Roman Republic, and the churches were built on the foundations of the Temples. For instance, that one church I mentioned earlier was actually a temple to Minerva, the Roman goddess.  All this information, despite hearing in the pouring rain, made the place so much deeper and real. I appreciated it, because I could have an true anchor to move me past tourist place to the history of it all.
   
      One thing I noticed that still is a problem here is understanding ourselves as guests, not as tourists. We are definitely American, we refuse (subconsciously, though I hope because I'm aware of it I am less often doing this) really adapt. We are still the loudest at meals, and yes I know we are a large group, and we take up a ton of space while walking. Or even when some wear clothes that are summer clothes in the US, but not here. It comes off as I don't care about where I'm at, this is my trip.... I guess they may be little things but they can come off rude, when this country is so about best presentation and about family. We are coming off individualistic. I think I can say this because when I was attempting communication with some shop keepers, I started working harder at using more Italian, more hand gestures I had been taught, and also just more physical touch and they became warmer, friendlier, and simply more like friends.
      It's interesting to note, and I hope I can keep aware of these and keep working at fixing it. I don't want to go away regretting anything really. To do art, to grow spiritually, to see amazing places and sights, and to gain a larger more full perspective is my goal, and I know it will take hard work that I hope I can drive myself to do. I'll definitely keep it in my prayers.

Side note: I wish I remembered the other two deepish things I wanted to talk about...sigh.. it would have replaced some of that whole how my day was part. Again, while doing this at night provides time, it makes straight though confusing when thoughts are just becoming clouds.