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Approaching Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi Italy
The main square in Assisi Italy
The Upper Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi Italy
Saint Francis Basilica by night in Assisi Italy
Saint Francis tomb in Assisi Italy

Assisi Things to Do

monuments and museums


basilica di san francesco

The burial place of St. Francis, this basilica was begun in 1228, two years after the saint's death. Over the next century, its Upper and Lower Churches were decorated by the foremost artists of their day, among them Cimabue, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Giotto. In particular, Giotto's frescoes on the Life of St. Francis are some of the most renowned in Italy. The basilica, whose architecture dominates Assisi, is one of the great Christian shrines and receives vast numbers of pilgrims throughout the year.


piazza dei comune

Assisi's main square, it's dominated by the columns of the Tempio di Minerva, a Roman temple-front from the Augustan age. The Palazzo Comunale, opposite, is home to the Pinacoteca Comunale, an art gallery with works by local medieval artists.


basilica di santa chiara

While the exterior shimmers with pale stone, the interior is pink and white and a beautiful example of early Gothic architecture. It's also the burial place of St. Clare, Francis's companion and the founder of the Poor Clares (an order of nuns). One of its chapels contains the crucifix that is said to have bowed its head and ordered Francis to "Repair God's church". The crucifix was originally in San Damiano, a church set amid olive groves south of the Porta Nuova.


the duomo (san ruffino)

Built during the 12th and 13th centuries, it has a superb Romanesque facade. Inside is a small museum of paintings, and there are archaeological items in the crypt. From the Duomo, Via Maria delle Rose leads to the Rocca Maggiore (rebuilt in 1367), a much-restored castle.


the church of san pietro

On Piazza San Pietro, San Pietro is simple and carefully restored 13th-century Romanesque church. The nearby Oratorio dei Pellegrini, a 15th-century pilgrims' hospice, contains well-preserved frescoes by Matteo da Gualdo.


the chiesa nuova

The Chiesa Nuova boasts some beautiful art and architecture, featuring high domes, a rounded central apse, and a heavily frescoed interior


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