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.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church Assisi
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazza del Comune, Assisi, Italy. Phone: +39 075813085. Opening hours: 7.15am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm. On weekends, the church opens one hour later. Closed: Tuesday and Friday. Admission: Free of charge.
History and description
Temple of Minerva
Of this temple, only the very well preserved façade – six Corinthian columns and a tympanum – remains. It was built by the quatorviri (magistrates in charge of road construction) Gneo Cesio and Tito Cesio Prisco. The tympanum is lower than the surrounding buildings, which makes a bit of a strange impression.
Most likely, despite the discovery of a statue depicting a female figure, the original temple was not dedicated to Minerva, but to Hercules, something that a commemorative plaque found at the site also seems to indicate.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
In 1539 the temple was converted into a church. Its present appearance is the result of a 17th century reconstruction. Since then this baroque structure has remained virtually untouched.
Not too long ago in this church, near the altar, some remains of the ancient Roman temple were discovered. It was decided to keep them visible.
From 1215 to 1270, the temple was the headquarters of the municipality of Assisi, which had only just been created at the time.
Until the 15th century, the building even served as a prison.
One of Giotto‘s frescoes in the Basilica Superiore depicts the Temple of Minerva.