There will be not be many cities with as high a concentration of basilicas and churches as Assisi, the birthplace of the Saints Francis and Chiara. The historical section of the town is one big tourist attraction, with alleys winding their way through the center of town.
Top 10 tourist attractions Assisi
1. Basilica di San Francesco
The largest and most famous attraction of the city is without doubt the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, who is buried there. It is divided into the Basilica Inferiore and the Basilica Superiore, which was built later. It is the mother church of the FranciscanOrder and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
2. San Damiano Church
The Monastery of San Damiano e le Sue Clarisse is one of the most important places in town, since it is here that the story of St. Francis began, when the Christ on the cross in front o which he was praying suddenly came to life and said “Rebuild my church.” It is a much more austere church than the basilica and is located in a quiet spot away from the city.
3. Eremo delle Carceri
The Eremo (“Hermitage”) delle Carceri is located about 5 kilometers from the center, towards the Monte Subasio. The church of the Eremo contains some relics of St. Francis, who had retreated to this place be able to pray without being disturbed. After visiting the Eremo, one can continue walking towards Monte Subasio to contemplate the magnificent panoramas.
4. Basilica di Santa Chiara
The Santa Chiara Basilica is one of the most important churches of the city. Built in the second half of the 13th century, it is characterized by the three enormous sem-arches supporting the left side of the building. Santa Chiara is buried inside the church.
5. Santa Maria Maggiore Church
Until the San Rufino Church took over the role, the Santa Maria Maggiore Church was the Cathedral of Assisi. It is built on top of an early Christian construction, which in turn was constructed on a Roman temple. The crypt contains Roman capitals and a sarcophagus.
6. Rocca Maggiore
The Rocca Maggiore is one of two castles in Assisi. It was built in 1367 by Cardinal Albornoz, who used the already existing, imperial residence of Federico Barbarossa as the foundation of the construction. It’s quite a climb, but the persistent are then rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of Assisi itself and the surrounding Umbrian countryside.
7. Via San Francesco
The Via San Francesco is the most important street in Assisi, as it connects the central square Piazza del Comune with the city’s main tourist attraction. There are some more churches along the street, which is almost completely dedicated to tourism.
8. Piazza del Comune
The Piazza del Comune is the central square of the city. There are a number of interesting palazzi, as well as the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church. The town hall, Palazzo dei Priori, faces the square, and the tourist office also has its seat there.
9. Duomo di San Rufino
Like the Santa Maria Maggiore Church, Assisi’s Cathedral was built on top of a Roman temple. It was probably founded in the 8th century and its facade is lavishly decorated. The interior consists of three naves.
10. Santa Maria degli Angeli in Porziuncola
The Santa Maria degli Angeli Church was built to harbor the Porziuncola, the small oratory that housed Francis and his companions at the beginning of their mission. It is visisted every year by huge crowds of pilgrims.