A short distance away from Perugia, on the Mount Subasio it is located Assisi, the hometown of Saint Francis the founder of the Franciscan order. This spiritual atmosphere catches tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.
In the city centre is located the Piazza del Comune with monuments that go back to the 12th and 14th century and the ancient pagan Temple of Minerva: the temple itself dates back to the 1st century, although the Christian church of Santa Maria has been added in the 9th and the tower in the 13th century. The interior is baroque but nearby the altar there are still some Romans remains. Close by, under the square there’s the Roman Forum and a bit further the Pinacoteca with pieces of art, mostly frescos, from the 13th to the 17th century.
The Basilica di San Francesco rises over the once called Hell Hill, it was used for executions and was the place where St. Francis wanted to be buried, so this hill is now called Paradise Hill. The Basilica consists of the Lower Church, the Upper Church, the Crypt of St. Francis and the St.Tomb. The Lower Church was built in the 1228 and is where are located astonishingly beautiful frescos from Maestro delle Vele, Lorenzetti and Cimabue. The Upper Church has been built between the 1230 and 1253 and is where you can admire the 28 part frescos all around the walls of which Giotto is presumptively the author. Worthy of attention is also Cimabue’s Crucifixion. These frescos have revolutionized the art world with a new naturalistic representation for people and places, leaving behind the old gold Byzantine representation. The Crypt of St. Francis is where he is laid to rest the St. together with its four closest friends.
Another great religious personality of Assisi is St. Clare to which is dedicated the Basilica di Santa Chiara. This Umbrian Gothic church is where are enshrined the Saint’s remains, furthermore, in one of the chapels is located the wooden crucifix which changed St. Francis life.
Another great and renowned church is the St. Mary of Angels Basilica (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli) dates back the 16th century and was built over the tiny Porziuncola chapel which was given to St. Francis after his conversion and it is now under the dome of the church.
The Cathedral of St. Rufino, Assisi’s Patron, dates back to the 11th century, has a roman style and a Neoclassical interior, also it contains the fountain where have been baptized both St. Claire and St. Francis.
The massive Rocca Maggiore (Great Fortress) dates from the 14th century and offers a stunning view on the Umbrian countryside.