Assisi

Assisi is a small town in Umbria, arguably Italy’s greenest region. It lies halfway up the Mt Subasio and holds significant religious, historical, and cultural importance. This is the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi, whose order of monks, the Franciscans, is still very much present today.  Assisi

The town has a large basilica dedicated to this saint, which consists of two parts. In the Basilica Superiore, you will find a celebration of life and nature. One of its most interesting features is the series of 28 frescoes detailing the saint’s life. The renowned artist Giotto painted these in the 13th-14th Century, and they still retain their vivid colors. Descending to the Basilica Inferiore you will find a more sombre, simple layout, echoing the values of the Franciscan order. Here you will also find work by Cimabue, Lorenzetti, and Martini. This also holds the crypt, which is home to St Francis’ tomb. The saint was secretly buried here at the time of his death, however it was discovered in the 18th Century and is now open to public viewing.

The town of Assisi exhibits almost no modern architecture. You can truly immerse yourself in the historical atmosphere and surroundings of this town. A particularly important monument here is the Rocca Maggiore. This ruined castle sits above Assisi and overlooks all its surrounding valleys. To the North you can even see Umbria’s capital, Perugia. The castle dates back to the 14th Century, although it was built around a fortification that actually dates all the way back to Charlemagne (roughly 8th Century).

Other churches that visitors can enter include San Pietro, Santo Stefano, and San Rufino. You can also visit the Basilica di Santa Chiara, whose pink and white façade was a focus point for St Francis when he had religious epiphanies. The town also has more secular attractions. For example the Piazza del Comune features medieval palazzi, as well as the Temple of Minerva. Below this piazza you will find an excavated Roman forum.

Assisi is in Umbria, which boasts some breathtakingly beautiful rolling countryside. This means it provides plenty of opportunities for nature activities such as hiking and biking. Moreover, this region has some exquisite produce, including its own cheeses, pasta, and even chocolate!

Assisi is easy to access by train or bus. If arriving by car, you can find parking space at the Porta Nuova.