Assisi Landmarks and Monuments
(Assisi, Umbria, Italy)
The various landmarks within the town of Assisi all tend to have something in common - they are all very old, and some positively ancient. Consecrated in the mid-13th century by Pope Innocent IV, the Basilica di San Francesco is the number one landmark in Assisi and a true monument to the past, ranking as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take the time to properly explore the town of foot and you will find yourself walking by many impressive medieval landmarks, shops and fountains, such as the Fonte Oliviera on the Via San Francesco.
Located on the Piazza Comune and in central Assisi, the Tempio di Minerva (Temple of Minerva) has definite Roman origins and dates back to the 1st century BC.
However, underneath the paving stones of the Piazza Comune are the well-preserved remains of an actual Roman Forum (Foro Romano), being accessible by a series of passageways and tunnels. Other landmarks in Assisi include the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, the Basilica di Santa Chiara and also the Cathedral of San Rufino (Duomo).
Basilica of St. Francis (Basilica di San Francesco)
Address: Piazza di San Francesco, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 075 819 001
Many of the cobbled alleyways and streets around Assisi ultimately lead to the historical landmark that is the Basilica di San Francesco. Divided into two main churches, the Lower and Upper basilicas, visitors to the Basilica of St. Francis are strongly advised to hire the audio guide as they explore the interior and numerous chapels, such as both the chapels of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Louis of Toulouse, to ensure that nothing of importance is overlooked. Built on a hill named locally as the 'Hell Hill (Colle d'Inferno), since people were once executed on this very spot, the crypt of St. Francis is of course the most famous tomb here and the remains of the basilica's namesake reside downstairs from the lower church.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: free, donations suggested
Basilica di Santa Chiara and Monastery
Address: Piazza Santa Chiara, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 075 812 282
A striking Romanesque landmark from the 13th century, the Basilica di Santa Chiara features a very recognisable facade, comprising a mixture of pink and white stones, which appear to almost glow when the sun shines and illuminates the church. The Basilica di Santa Chiara stands next to the Church of St. George, where the body of St. Francis was once buried before being moved to its current situation. St. Clare, the daughter of an important local nobleman, is actually buried within the basilica's crypt. Visitors will always enjoy the many colourful frescoes and 600-year-old paintings, which adorn the walls and remain very impressive, despite their considerable age.
Open hours: daily, April to October - 06:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 19:00; November to March - 06:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 18:00
Temple of Minerva (Tempio di Minerva)
Address: Piazza del Comune / Via Portica Assisi, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +398 075 813 053
The Roman Temple of Minerva stands directly opposite both the Palazzo dei Priori and the Piazza del Comune, and close to the Municipal Tower, and is actually one of the best preserved landmarks of ancient Italy, being over 2,000 years old. Dominated by six stone columns, which rise upwards from a grand flight of stairs, the exterior is especially grand and quite unmissable. During the 17th century, the Tempio di Minerva was converted into the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and is today rather Baroque in its character.
Open hours: daily
Cathedral of San Rufino (Duomo di San Rufino)
Address: Piazza San Ruino, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 075 816 016
The Duomo di San Rufino is an eye-catching landmark, exuding unmistakable Romanesque character and dating from the 13th century, although it was remodelled at a later date during the 16th century. Tourists tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer grandeur of the architecture and attention to detail, and often overlook some of the most historically significant features, such as the fountain where it is said that both St. Clare and St. Francis were actually baptized. Look out for the beautiful rose windows and many grotesque animals and figures, which decorate the exterior. The Cathedral of San Rufino stands on the sight of some ancient Roman remains.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 19:00
Admission: free, donations suggested
Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
Address: Via Portica, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 075 813 053
Many tourists visiting Assisi are often very surprised to find archaeological remains of a Roman Forum in the town, beneath the actual Piazza del Commune. Dating from just before the 1st century, these Roman ruins have only been partially excavated and can be accessed by a number of passages, entered from the Museo Civico. In addition, an increasing number of shops around the Piazza del Commune open their basements, so that tourists are able to view a glimpse of the ancient Roman landmarks and wonders which lay beneath the town's main square.
Open hours: daily, April to October - 10:30 to 13:30, 14:00 to 18:00; November to March - 10:30 to 13:30, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children
Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli)
Tel: +39 075 805 11
Within a stone's throw of the train station, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli took more than 100 years to complete and was constructed between 1565 and 1685. The basilica features a vast interior, with beautiful tiled flooring and two lateral aisles, and was built around the already existing 9th-century Porziuncola (Little Church). One of the most noteworthy landmarks in this part of Assisi, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli is home to a total of ten different chapels and each of these has been decorated by acclaimed Italian artists. The basilica's Cappella del Transito, Rose Garden and Museum of the Porziuncola complete the main attractions.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 18:00
New Church (Chiesa Nuovo)
Address: Piazza Chiesa Nuova, Assisi, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 075 812 339
The beautiful Baroque-style Chiesa Nuovo literally translates as the 'New Church', although in fact, this local landmark was actually erected around 400 years ago, at the request of King Philip III of Spain. The Chiesa Nuovo stands alongside the Piazza del Comune and features daily masses at 07:00, and also at 10:00 during holidays. It is believed that this church stands on the actual birthplace of St. Francis (San Francesco).
Open hours: daily, April to October - 06:30 to 12:00, 14:30 to 18:00; November to March - 06:30 to 12:00, 14:00 to 18:00