Assisi (Italian pronunciation: [asˈsiːzi], from the Latin:
Asisium) is a town and comune of
Italy in the
Province of Perugia
Province of Perugia in
Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio.
It is generally regarded as the birthplace of the Latin poet
Propertius, born around 50–45 BC. It is the birthplace of St.
Francis, who founded the
Franciscan religious order in the town in
1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), the founder of the Poor
Sisters, which later became the Order of
Poor Clares after her death.
Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in
2 Main sights
2.2 Other landmarks
6 International relations
6.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
7 Appearances in media
7.1 In video games
9 External links
Around 1000 BC a wave of immigrants settled in the upper
as far as the Adriatic Sea, and also in the neighborhood of Assisi.
These were the Umbrians, living in small fortified settlements on high
ground. From 450 BC these settlements were gradually taken over by the
Etruscans. The Romans took control of central
Italy after the Battle
of Sentinum in 295 BC. They built the flourishing municipium Asisium
on a series of terraces on Monte Subasio. Roman remains can still be
found in Assisi: city walls, the forum (now Piazza del Comune), a
theatre, an amphitheatre and the Temple of Minerva (now transformed
into the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva). In 1997, the remains of
a Roman villa were also discovered containing several well-preserved
rooms with frescoes and mosaics in a condition rarely found outside
sites such as Pompei.
In 238 AD
Assisi was converted to Christianity by bishop Rufino, who
was martyred at Costano. According to tradition, his remains rest in
the Cathedral Church of San Rufino in Assisi.
Ostrogoths of king
Totila destroyed most of the town in 545.
Assisi then came under the rule of the
Lombards as part of the Lombard
and then Frankish Duchy of Spoleto.
The thriving commune became an independent Ghibelline commune in the
11th century. Constantly struggling with the Guelph Perugia, it was
during one of those battles, the battle at Ponte San Giovanni, that
Francesco di Bernardone, (
Saint Francis of Assisi), was taken
prisoner, setting in motion the events that eventually led him to live
as a beggar, renounce the world and establish the Order of Friars
Temple of Minerva in the Piazza del Comune.
The city, which had remained within the confines of the Roman walls,
began to expand outside these walls in the 13th century. In this
period the city was under papal jurisdiction. The Rocca Maggiore, the
imperial fortress on top of the hill above the city, which had been
plundered by the people in 1189, was rebuilt in 1367 on orders of the
papal legate, cardinal Gil de Albornoz.
In the beginning
Assisi fell under the rule of
Perugia and later under
several despots, such as the soldier of fortune Biordo Michelotti,
Gian Galeazzo Visconti
Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his successor Francesco I Sforza, dukes of
Jacopo Piccinino and Federico II da Montefeltro, lord of
Urbino. The city went into a deep decline through the plague of the
Black Death in 1348.
The city came again under papal jurisdiction under the rule of Pope
Pius II (1458–1464).
In 1569 construction was started of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli
Angeli. During the Renaissance and in later centuries, the city
continued to develop peacefully, as the 17th-century palazzi of the
Bernabei and Giacobetti attest.
Now the site of many a pilgrimage,
Assisi is linked in legend with its
native son, St. Francis. The gentle saint founded the
and shares honors with St.
Catherine of Siena
Catherine of Siena as the patron saint of
Italy. He is remembered by many, even non-Christians, as a lover of
nature (his preaching to an audience of birds is one of the legends of
The basilica in May 2017
Assisi was hit by two devastating earthquakes, that shook
September 1997. But the recovery and restoration have been remarkable,
although much remains to be done. Massive damage was caused to many
historical sites, but the major attraction, the Basilica di San
Francesco, reopened less than 2 years later.
UNESCO collectively designated the
Franciscan structures of
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site in 2000.
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St. Francis). The Franciscan
monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church (Italian:
Basilica inferiore and Basilica superiore) of St Francis were begun
immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253. The
lower church has frescoes by the late-medieval artists
Giotto; the upper church houses frescoes of scenes in the life of St.
Francis previously ascribed to Giotto, but now thought to be by
artists of the circle of
Pietro Cavallini from Rome. The Basilica was
badly damaged by a 5.5 earthquake on 26 September 1997, during which
part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and
carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue. The edifice was closed for two
years for restoration.
Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary the Greater), the earliest extant
church in Assisi.
The Cathedral of San Rufino (St. Rufinus), with a Romanesque façade
with three rose windows and a 16th‑century interior; part of it is
built on a Roman cistern.
Basilica of Santa Chiara (St. Clare) with its massive lateral
buttresses, rose window, and simple Gothic interior, begun in 1257,
contains the tomb of the namesake saint and 13th‑century frescoes
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (St. Mary of the Angels), which
houses the Porziuncola.
Chiesa Nuova, built over the presumed parental home of St. Francis
Santo Stefano, one of the oldest churches of Assisi.
Eremo delle Carceri, a small monastery with church at a canyon above
the town, where St. Francis retreated and preached to birds
Church of San Pietro (St. Peter), built by the Benedictines in the
10th century and rebuilt in the 13th century. It has a rectangular
façade with three rose windows; the Gothic chapel of the Holy
Sacrament houses a triptych by Matteo di Gualdo.
Eremo delle Carceri.
The town is dominated by two medieval castles. The larger, called
Rocca Maggiore, is a massive reconstruction by Cardinal Albornoz
(1366) and expanded by popes Pius II (polygonal tower, 1458) and Paul
III (the cylindrical bastion near the entrance, 1535-1538). The
smaller of the two was built in Roman era: it has been only partially
reserved, a small portion and three towers being open to the public.
Other sights include:
the Roman amphitheater, built in the early 1st century AD. Its
elliptical plan is identifiable from the medieval houses built around
it, and from an arch of travertine cunei. The arena now houses a
the Piazza del
Comune ("Communal Square"), with the Palazzo del
Capitano del Popolo (mid-13th century, featuring a series of merlons
added in 1927), the adjoining Torre del Popolo ("People's Tower",
1305) the Palazzo dei Priori ("Palace of the Priors", 1275-1493). The
fountains with three lions in the southern side dates from the 16th
The Temple of Minerva, also facing the Piazza del Comune
The abbey of St. Benedict, founded in the 10th century on the Monte
Subasio. Remains include the crypt (late 11th century), the apse and
the external walls.
Pietro Lorenzetti fresco detail,
Assisi Basilica, 1310–1329.
See also Art in Assisi
Assisi has had a rich tradition of art through the centuries and is
now home to a number of well known artistic works.
Pietro Lorenzetti and
Simone Martini worked shoulder to
shoulder at Assisi. The
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi includes a
number of artistic works. Simone Martini's 1317 fresco there reflects
the influence of Giotto in realism and the use of brilliant colors.
Lorenzetti's fresco at the lower church of the Basilica includes a
series of panels depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus, Deposition from
the Cross, and Entombment of Christ. The figures Lorenzetti painted
display emotions, yet the figures in these scenes are governed by
geometric emotional interactions, unlike many prior depictions which
appeared to be independent iconic aggregations. Lorenzetti's 1330
Madonna dei Tramonti
Madonna dei Tramonti also reflects the ongoing influence of Giotto on
his Marian art, midway through his career.
c. 1920 travel poster
Festival Calendimaggio, held on 1–5 May, is a re-enactment of
medieval and Renaissance life in the form of a challenge between the
upper faction and the lower faction of the town. It includes
processions, theatrical presentations, flag-wavers and dances.
Embroidery is a form of counted-thread embroidery which has
been practised in
Assisi since the 13th century.
Today the town has many groups coming to enjoy the simple peace of St.
Francis. One such group has restored an 11th-century room and added
altars to the world's religions. Other organizations, such as Assisi
Performing Arts, complement Assisi's tranquility with music and other
Assisi was the home of several saints. They include:
Agnes of Assisi
Clare of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
Rufinus of Assisi
Vitalis of Assisi
Sylvester of Assisi
Assisi railway station, opened in 1866, forms part of the
Foligno–Terontola railway, which also links Florence with Rome. The
station is located at Piazza Dante Alighieri, in the frazione of Santa
Maria degli Angeli, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southwest of the
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy
Twin towns – Sister cities
Assisi is twinned with:
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
San Francisco, USA
Italy (since 2013)
Appearances in media
In video games
One of rally tracks in Gran Turismo series is set in a fictitious
Città d'Aria, which is directly based on Assisi, and closely
resembles its layout. This track appeared first in the Gran Turismo 4:
^ Harris, W.; DARMC, R. Talbert; S. Gillies, J. Åhlfeldt; J. Becker,
T. Elliott. "Places: 413037 (Asisium)". Pleiades. Retrieved November
^ Lorenzetti works at Web Gallery of Art
^ Uffizi Galleries
Bethlehem Municipality". www.bethlehem-city.org. Archived from the
original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Assisi.
Assisi travel guide from Wikivoyage
Ashby, Thomas (1911). "Asisium". In Chisholm, Hugh.
Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Rule of St. Francis
Rule of St. Clare
Custodian of the Holy Land
Saint Francis of Assisi
Monte di Pietá
Franciscan missions to the Maya
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
Franciscan orders in Protestantism
Orders and groups
Order of Friars Minor
Order of Friars Minor
Order of Friars Minor Conventual
Order of Friars Minor
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
Capuchin Poor Clares
Colettine Poor Clares
Third Order of
Order of Minims
World Heritage Sites in Italy
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Monte San Giorgio1
Porto Venere, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare
Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
Castle of Moncalieri
Castle of Racconigi
Castle of Rivoli
Castello del Valentino
Royal Palace of Turin
Palazzo Madama, Turin
Palace of Venaria
Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi
Villa della Regina
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes1
Rock Drawings in Valcamonica
Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-
Roero and Monferrato
Torre della Ghirlandina
Torre della Ghirlandina and Piazza Grande, Modena
Orto botanico di Padova
City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
Saint Francis of Assisi
Etruscan Necropolises of
Cerveteri and Tarquinia
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
Castel del Monte, Apulia
Vallo di Diano
Vallo di Diano National Park,
Paestum and Velia, Certosa
Oplontis and Villa Poppaea
Palace of Caserta,
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli and
San Leucio Complex
Sassi di Matera
Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale
Archaeological Area of Agrigento
Syracuse and Necropolis of Pantalica
Val di Noto
Militello in Val di Catania
Villa Romana del Casale
Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)
Cividale del Friuli
Temple of Clitumnus
Temple of Clitumnus located at Campello sul Clitunno
Santa Sofia located at Benevento
Monte Sant'Angelo located at Monte Sant'Angelo
Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps3
Primeval Beech Forests of Europe4
Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries5
Peschiera del Garda
1 Shared with Switzerland
2 Shared with the Holy See
3 Shared with Austria, France, Germany, Slovenia, and Switzerland
4 Shared with Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain and Ukraine
5 Shared with
Croatia and Montenegro
Umbria · Comuni of the Province of Perugia
Campello sul Clitunno
Castiglione del Lago
Cerreto di Spoleto
Città della Pieve
Città di Castello
Fossato di Vico
Monte Castello di Vibio
Monte Santa Maria Tiberina
Monteleone di Spoleto
Passignano sul Trasimeno
Sant'Anatolia di Narco
Scheggia e Pascelupo
Tuoro sul Trasimeno
Vallo di Nera