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On the Road with Francis of Assisi: A Timeless Journey Through Umbria and Tuscany, and Beyond
Synopses & Reviews
On the Road with Francis of Assisi offers a unique and lively travelogue of parallel journeys: that of Francis of Assisi on his way to sainthood in the thirteenth century, and that of author Linda Bird Francke, who followed his path through the beauty of central and coastal Italy–and even on to Egypt.
Francke tells the compelling story of Saint Francis through the many places he visited. She and her husband, Harvey Loomis, used as their guidebooks medieval texts, including the first official biography of the saint, completed in 1229, just three years after he died. Theirs was not a spiritual journey but one based on admiration for a man whose legend continues to inspire and fascinate millions around the world.
From Assisi–a small Umbrian town that now draws two million visitors a year, making it second only to Rome as an Italian pilgrimage destination–Saint Francis crisscrossed Italy for twenty years. And so too does the author travel through the “green heart” of Italy to such hill towns and cities as Siena, Bologna, Venice, Gubbio, and Rome, and to the many mountaintop Franciscan sanctuaries from La Verna and Le Celle di Cortona in Tuscany to the Rieti Valley.
Along the way, Francke movingly depicts the many miracles Francis performed and draws us into the splendid beauty of the landscape that inspired the saint’s love for nature and regard for all living things. Unlike Francis, however, whose asceticism caused him to add ashes to his food to deaden its earthly pleasure, Francke and her husband indulge in the fabled Umbrian cuisine, from wild boar to the region’s famed black truffles, and the incomparable local wines.
On the Road with Francis of Assisi embraces the spirit and person of its legendary subject, and invites the reader to marvel at his spiritual intensity and follow in his footsteps through the timeless beauty of Italy.
"Francke (Ground Zero; Growing Up Divorced) invokes the legendary 13th-century saint as a spiritual tour guide of Italy, tracing Francis's footsteps to illuminate his spiritual and physical journey to sainthood. Submerged in the region's rich history, Francke traverses the country as Francis did for 20 years, lingering in Assisi (his birthplace), Venice and Rome, visiting chapels and devotional spaces bearing relics of his life or visual homage to the myths he inspired. Her vivid reimaginings create a window into Francis's life, which is blessed with an intriguing backstory that Francke skillfully revives in scenes of drama, despair and passion, as when Francis stridently severs ties with his father to a tittering crowd while 'in the buff.' She also lavishes attention on St. Clare, the feverishly devout nun who submits to the Franciscan order and falls desperately in love with its leader. Francke peppers her reverent yet witty account with local color and amusing anecdotes that usher history into the present, noting, for instance, that Peter Jennings kept on his desk a statue of St. Clare, as her miraculous witnessing of a Christmas church service marked history's 'first live broadcast.' Photos. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (On sale Nov. 15)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Following the footsteps of St. Francis, this journey through beautiful Italy--and as far east as Palestine and Egypt--brings to life the remarkable career and travels of the most remarkable of all saints.
About the Author
Linda Bird Francke, a former editor at Newsweek and award-winning journalist, is the author of Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military and Growing Up Divorced. She lives in Sagaponack, New York, with her husband, Harvey Loomis.
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