When we visited Assisi we went up to Eremo delle Carceri, a few miles up Mt. Subasio, where St. Francis went to pray. There is a beautiful beech and oak forest with dark trunks perched over a steep grade, and paths and grottoes where pilgrims pray. I found it very moving to spend time in this place where a person of great character walked many centuries before. I imagined him finding a peace here that allowed him to develop many of his ideas, the compassion for other people and the love of nature and creation.
To the right is a cyclamen which is native to the forest, growing among leaf litter and bright blocks of limestone.
St. Francis called these caves Carceri because he thought they were a little bit like prison cells. He had spent time in a very dark and dank one in Perugia--as a young man he had joined a group from Assisi battling Perugia; most of his fellow soldiers were killed in the battle and those who remained were imprisoned.