I love staying in apartments, especially in Italian cities. You can live like a local who talks funny.
Too many apartment owners like to spiff a place up for the tourist. You know, fake ceiling beams, fake Renaissance art on the walls. The stuff they think you want. The stuff they think makes it seem like Italy for you.
What I want is a comfortable place, a good bed, heat in the off-season, internet that’s fast and reliable—and I want to throw open the shutters and have Italy come to me. And it doesn’t hurt that the owner is nearby and feels the duty to make herself available to you in case you have questions or want to know what you actually ordered at the restaurant last night that you thought was an prime cut from your favorite barnyard animal in red sauce but appeared to be a part you usually don’t put in your mouth voluntarily.
Yes, between “hover incessantly” and hide, there is the zone of comfort, the bulls-eye of great hosting, making yourself available to your guests.
So let’s say your host is Rebecca and your apartment is inside a 16th century palazzo with a view out the window like this:
Below you is the main square of Assisi. You can casually stroll to the bar across from the Roman temple of Minerva and get a coffee, or better yet a glass of local Grecchetto. It’s a hoppin’ place.
At night you batten down the hatches, closing the shutters over the double-paned glass and there’s silence.
I’d say you’ve got it made.
We’re talking about Brigolante’s town apartments, specifically:
One long room with fireplace. Perfect. A thermostat that keeps the place at just the right temperature. And it’s smack in the center of Assisi!
Ok, so you know there’s the Basilica of San Francisco. Everyone goes there. It’s safe. There are armed guards making sure. It’s a new age.
But Assisi is more. Gawk at the amazing carvings on the facade of the Duomo. That’s the cathedral lost in the tourist’s focused lust over Saint Francis. It’s dedicated to some local guy. San Rufino—or Rufinus of Assisi. You don’t care about him, but the church had lots to do with Francis; in 1209 he preached so well that Clare realized her calling and history was made.
And there are the little surprises that appear in front of the many churches. Like classic cars in front of Santa Chiara.
And if you ask Rebecca she’ll tell you how you can arrange to visit the Roman houses underground. Imagine putting in an elevator and wham! You hit Roman columns. You can stroll up to the castle, where you’ll get great views overhead of the city of Assisi, or you can take a walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis; there are trails everywhere out of town associated with the saint.
Spend a week. Spend a month if you have it. You’ll be cozy. You’ll eat well. You will be in the heart of Assisi. If you’d rather stay 6 kilometers out of town, Rebecca also runs the Brigolante Country Apartments.
You can’t go wrong either way.