in Italy stretches out on the slopes of the Monte Subasio, above the
plain where the Topino and Chiascio rivers flow.
Although it can boast Roman origins, its present-day appearance,
because of the buildings and also the urban structure, is surely due
to the city's development during the Middle Ages.
Assisi's oldest nucleus, which is protected by a defensive apparatus
made up of eight fortified entrance portals and a long belt of town
walls, which are still perfectly preserved, is topped by two castles
on peak of the mountain: the Major Castle, reconstructed by the
Cardinal Albornoz in 1367 and the Minor Castle. Apart from religious
buildings too important to not be considered solely the heritage of
Assisi such as the basilica of St. Francis, the tourist can also visit
the churches of St. Clare and St.Peter.
The first was constructed in the Gothic style between 1257 and 1265,
the second is a little older and decorated with an elegant middle
portal with three rose-windows. The Cathedral, dedicated to the Patron
Saint St. Rufino, vaunts a splendid and unaltered facade with
sculptures and reliefs; the interior, however, has undergone much
reconstruction during the centuries which have distorted the original
project dating back to the 13th century. On the Town Square situated
on the ancient Forum, you will find the Priors' Palace (1337), the
Palace of the People's Captain (12th century) and the temple of
Minerva, built during the augustean period with pronaos, columms and
corinthian capitals which are still intact.
Nearby, places which are connected with the life of St. Francis can be
visited, sich as the Eremitage of the Prisons, immersed in a thick
wood of oaks and ilex on the slopes of the Subasio Mountain, and the
convent of St. Damian, which was built up around the oratory were,
according to tradition, the Cross spoke to the Saint. Finally, in the
plain, the impressive basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built
according to the plans of Alessi between 1569 and 1679 to protect the
Porziuncola Chapel, which was the first simple meeting-place of the
All those who have the good luck of visiting this splendid town have
to agree with who says that the beauty of town goes beyond a short,
and necessarily incomplete list of works of art more or less
extraordinary, but is however to be found in the atmosphere of places
which the story and the faith of the Saint have rendered unique all
over the world.