Assisi’s Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained
Every September 26th, vases of fresh flowers encircle the pink limesonte plaque on the floor at the entrance to the Basilica Superiore di San Francesco. Look closely at the plaque and you’ll see that it’s incised with four names below the T-shaped Tau cross (symbol of St. Francis): the two restorers and two friars who died dashing for the door at 11 42 September 26th, 1997, as the frescoed vault above crashed down, fragmenting into 80,000 pieces.
Look up and you’ll see the restored late 13th c. fresco: 40,000 of 80,000 pieces put together in five years of working on the “greatest puzzle” in the history of western European art.
No one in Assisi will ever forget that day. And I’ll never forget the experience of climbing the ladders up to the vault to view the just-completed fresco restoration in 2002.
For me, a climb to see a “Paradise regained.”
…and see photos of the stunning Basilica di San Francesco here: