Anne's Blog

  • Medieval Assisi's floral splendor

Assisi Floral Splendor with COVID-19…?

Date: May 2, 2020 - categories: , , , - 1 Comment

In past years in May, I’d be walking the labyrinthine Assisi medieval backstreets nearly daily, taking in the floral splendor all around…..

… I headed to meet my tour guests for an Assisi guided walk.

In lockdown here in our Assisi countryside farmhouse since March 11th, I have no idea if floral majesty has taken the stage in Assisi – as in past years:

But with thoughts of that Assisi floral majesty, I set out on a walk near our farmhouse the other day, deciding to focus on the natural splendor all around us right here.

As I walked, I reflected on how the COVID-19 lockdown has taught us all (hopefully) to look at, observe, and take the time to study the simple objects all around us which we’ve too often overlooked due to life’s daily routine and pace.

Like the simple beauty of a grapevine.

I paused in our vineyard, taking in the beauty of the gnarled vines and the and the sprouting new shoots:

Near the vines, young olive trees Pino had planted were giving signs of spring growth too, the pale green mignole (olive buds) beginning to appear on the branches in the midst of the leaves:

As I approached the back of our house, I stopped at the Judas tree:

I’d never taken the time to observe the bees buzz among the fuchsia blossoms of the tree, right outside our kitchen door.

I was there watching them for quite a while this morning – and listening to the buzzing hum – also grateful to see – and hear – so many bees.

I even managed to photograph one, a black buzzing ball, silvery blue wings:

(Before COVID-19 lockdown, I never would have been out listening to bees buzz nor trying to photograph them).

Near the Judas tree, other buzzing bees zipped in and out of the rosemary bush:


I often make a quick stop at that rosemary bush, snapping off a twig or two to use in cooking but thanks to this lockdown, I spent time there today, watching the bees, taking photos of the rosemary…..

……and of that stately centuries-old oak tree, branches spreading out above the rosemary as if a protective force:

On the other side of the rosemary, white blossoms of an apple tree reached skyward:

Trunk bent and contorted like an arthritic old woman, the flowering branches stretch out upwards, seeking the clouds:

I walked all around that apple tree, noting its majesty from various angles….

….as I listened to the buzzing bees (here, too), the only noise in a silent countryside.

And thanks again to this lockdown, I looked closely at those apple blossoms – perhaps for the first time. Bellissime:

Along the field near the apple tree, blue borage sprouted.

We’d use it now and then for a frittata or sautéed with garlic and olive oil ….

……but today, I simply wanted to look more closely at the drooping blue borage flowers, flanked by dangling closed buds like furry claws:

I gently lifted a borage flower up. I was dumbfounded at its elegant beauty:

Time for a pause: I sat in the field of dandelions in front of our house, near the first poppies of the season:

Simple floral splendor.

Assisi’s window boxes might be flowering now. Our floral majesty blooms in the fields all around.

And not only in the fields: a huge vase near our house erupts now with purple Portughese lavender…..

…..and how the bees love it:

Another flower I’d never taken the time to observe closely above, below and all around.

Nor those roses crowning the fence of the chicken coop:

COVID-19 lockdown allowed time for an attentive rose observation today. From small buds, still closed to the world….

….to the roses just opening…

… roses in full bloom:

I feel now that I know our roses.

By this time, I was fully on the track of floral acquaintances – and the tulips were next:

Looking inside a tulip, I found the brilliant beauty of a fringed crimson cup.

And today was the first time I moved in closely to our iris plants…

….to open the petals of iris flowers. Like unfolding a precious gift:

Inside the iris flower, there are three internal petals, just as there are three external. Three: the number of perfection.

Perfect beauty I’d missed.

Before COVID-19 lockdown.

Read about a floral tribute to Gubbio and the May 15th festival, Corsa dei Ceri

Read about how reflecting on Van Gogh helped me see the beauty all around – in simple, insignificant objects

Read about a “lockdown liberation” for April 25thla Festa della Repubblica (and so very linked to Gubbio, as well)

Enjoy this “COVID-19 lockdown” recipe

Click here for a tasty Pino recipe as a coronavirus distraction

Read about newborn goats as a coronavirus diversion

Click here for another “coronavirus-deterrent” recipe

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

Click here for the recipe for a tasty pasta dish – and ours on Good Friday during COVID-19

Read here about culling the wool of our cashmere goats – a perfect coronavirus distraction

Read here about Pino’s goat cheese

Cook away a possible CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack) with this simple recipe for a buonissima pasta dish

Read here about a snowy day in Umbria during our coronavirus lockdown

Click here for an easy, tasty recipe

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Click here  for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe

Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)

Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here to read about March 8th – as a coronavirus antidote

Peppa is always perfect distraction from a CPA

1 Comment

  • Marybeth Evans says:

    Hi Anne. I’ve forwarded your wonderful post to an Italian American friend of mine. He has traveled in the past to Italy to study Italian and is interested in knowing about a school near you that might teach Italian in kind. Can you recommend a school. Please reply to my email : Marybeth Evans. Such beautiful pictures.

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)