So far we have been very fortunate with the weather. We had a little rain on the drive from the airport to Viterbo and that’s it. Today is payback day. Luckily we are prepared for rain and it does not keep us from pursuing our agenda.
We are now in St. Francis and Piero della Francesca (PDF) territory. Our first stop today is at the LaVerna Sanctuary where St. Francis received his stigmata. It is a long and twisty drive up to the mountaintop through the rain and fog. And golly, is it cold when we get out of the car!
John and I came here years ago and we were almost the only people visiting. It was lovely and serene. This Monday after Easter is anything but. There are hordes of people and busloads of kids turning this serene place into a St. Francis World theme park.
Needless to say the visit here is not the serene encounter we are hoping for. We visit the sanctuary of the stigmata where there is a della Robbia ceramic sculpture.
After this we venture outside where one can go to the Sasso Spicco, an overhanging rock where legend has it that St. Francis sought refuge from the devil.
I do not join Sarah and John down the slippery stairs. I figure there is no reason to tempt fate (or the devil!) Instead I remain in the courtyard where I can take some misty pictures.
After our visit to LaVerna we head down the mountain to Sansepulcro, home of PDF. It is pouring rain! We walk around a bit through the bedraggled market and find a place for some sandwiches for lunch.
Our next tour stop is the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangellista. Here we see a fine Perugino ariot with expressionless faces and we also enjoy a 14th century altarpiece.
Our last stop is at the Civic Museum. A few of their PDF pieces have been loaned out to the exhibition we saw in Forli. It seems that Piero della Francesca is big business around here attracting tourists. We see what is left.
We also see a PDF fresco that is being restored.
There are also some interesting fresco fragments from a deconsecrated 14th century church.
Tonight’s dinner consists of stopping into a beer pub and having some crostini.