The exiled Italian prince and his actress wife, who live in Geneva, chose Assisi in light of its symbolism of peace
Photo: AFP
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Nestled in Umbria's spectacular countryside, Assisi is surrounded by rolling hills and valleys which offer picturesque hiking opportunities for more energetic visitors

31 MAY 2004

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Emmanuel Filiberto of Savoy, grandson of Italy's last king, and his wife, French actress Clotilde Courau, celebrated the baptism of their daughter Vittoria in Italy's historic basilica of Assisi on Sunday.

Baby Vittoria, born on December 29, was clad in the century-old traditional christening gown of the House of Savoy during the baptismal mass, held at the church whose crypt holds the remains of many of her ancestors.

Her mother and father, whose family was exiled from Italy in 1946 and who now lives in Geneva, selected Assisi in light of its symbolism of peace. "With this choice they wish a future world without war for their own daughter and all the children of the world," said a spokesperson.

A six months' pregnant Clotilde wed Emmanuel in Rome on September 25, 2003. More than 1,200 guests attended the nuptials at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, with notable figures such as designer Pierre Cardin and rock star Johnny Hallyday among the invitees and Prince Albert of Monaco acting as best man.

The Basilica di San Francesco, where the baptism was held, is just one of Assisi's many attractions. Built above the remains of the humble saint who lies in the crypt, the two-storey church boasts atmospheric stained glass windows, and frescoes attributed to Giotto.

From the town itself spectacular views can be enjoyed out over the surrounding plains, hills and valleys. More energetic visitors can head up the wooded slopes of Monte Subasio to the hermitage where Saint Francis retreated for prayer.

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