Churches Assisi

Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, so there are a large number of churches in the city associated with the life of this saint. Apart from the basilica dedicated to himself, these are the San Damiano convent and the Eremo delle Carcere. However, these are not the only interesting churches in the city. Contrary to what one might think, the city’s cathedral is not dedicated to its most famous inhabitant.

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San Rufino Cathedral Assisi

The San Rufino Cathedral of Assisi is not dedicated to St. Francis but to the city’s second saint. Tradition has it that the remains of this saint are buried under the cathedral’s main altar. Built in the 12th century, the church was completely restored after the 1997 earthquake.

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San Damiano Convent Assisi

The Convent of San Damiano e le Sue Clarisse is one of the most important sites in Assisi, since it is here that the story of St. Francis began when the Christ on the cross he was praying for suddenly came to life and told him to “Rebuild my church.” It is a much more austere church than the Basilica of St. Francis and it is located in a quiet spot a little outside the city.

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Santa Maria degli Angeli in Porziuncola Church Assisi

The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli in Porziuncola in Assisi was built in the Renaissance period and houses, among other things, the Porziuncola, the ancient, originally Benedictine chapel, where Saint Francis founded the Order of the Franciscans in 1209, after a meeting in Rome with the then Pope Innocenzo III. Saint Francis would also eventually breathe his last here.

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Chiesa Nuova Assisi

The Chiesa Nuova, literally translated “New Church”, was built in 1615 on the site of the birthplace of Saint Francis of Assisi, where he lived with his family until he was 24 years old. The Saint had been locked inside here by his father after he had given away his possessions to have the San Damiano Church repaired. (St. Francis’ father would have preferred him to become a merchant.)

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Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church and Temple Assisi

The Temple of Minerva and the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva are located in the Piazza del Comune in the center of Assisi. In 1539 the temple was converted into a church. The current appearance is the result of a reconstruction in the 17th century. Since then, this Baroque structure has remained virtually untouched.

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Eremo delle Carceri Assisi

The Eremo (“Hermitage”) delle Carceri is located about 5 kilometers from the center of Assisi, in the direction of Monte Subasio. The church built inside the gates of the Eremo contains some relics of St. Francis, who had retreated to this place to pray undisturbed. After visiting the Eremo, one can continue walking towards Monte Subasio to contemplate the magnificent panoramas.

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