If you are planning a trip in Assisi, you are in luck because in this article you will find a complete list of the attractions you shouldnt miss and of the food you should definitely taste when in town.
As you may know, Assisi is famous because it is often associated with one of the most loved and venerated saints in the world, St. Francis of Assisi and for its medieval features, which makes the town rich in characteristic corners and typical culinary specialties.
Assisi, between St. Francis, Unesco heritage and more
Your tour of Assisi can have only one starting point: the magnificent Basilica of San Francesco, built in the XIII century and composed of two differente, but very complementary, parts: the Lower Church and the Upper Church.
By walking through the beautiful oak doors carved by Niccolò da Gubbio, you will enter the Lower Church; continuing down the aisle you will admire the chapel of Saint Catherine, built by the famous cardinal Albornoz, buried in there.
Take a major look at the wonderful side chapels painted by artists of the caliber of Giovanni da Cosma and Taddeo Gaddi, as well as the vault of the nave which is an authentic work of art with frescoes by various artists including Simone Martini, Giotto and his whole school.
At the end of the nave you will find the high altar, erected on the tomb of St. Francis: look up, and admire the four great frescoes painted by Giotto celebrating the three fundamental virtues of the Franciscan Rule: Poverty, Obedience and Chastity. From the Lower Church, go down to the crypt where the body of the Saint rests.
Now, you are ready for the Upper Church: you sure know its famous linear and refined Gothic facade showing a beautiful rose window at its center.
Once inside you will be bewitched by the light that filters through the artistic windows, in contrast with the Lower Church in which the light is noticeably shorter. The upper part is covered with frescoes from the Old and New Testament, whose attribution is still uncertain.
The lower walls are instead the work of Giotto and his school. This is the most important and interesting pictorial cycle of Franciscan iconography.
After this major aesthetic experience in the Basilica, reach the medieval Piazza del Comune around which stands the Temple of Minerva, whose foundation can be pinned on the 1st century BC: a true jewel of ancient art! Another attraction you cannot miss is the New Church, built in the ‘600 on the birthplace of St. Francis.
Walking along the church, you will arrive at the Oratory of S. Francesco Piccolino, where, according to legend, the Saint was born.
Now, take a walk in Corso Mazzini and find yourself in Piazza S. Chiara, dominated by the homonymous Basilica. Inside the Basilica of S. Chiara, you can admire the remains of the Saint and the beautiful wooden crucifix which, according to legend, spoke to St. Francis.
What else can you see in Assisi?
Your tour of Assisi is not finished yet! Don’t forget to stop at the Cathedral of St. Rufino, bishop, martyr and patron saint of Assisi.
The interior of the sixteenth-century church contains a Roman cistern, the baptismal font to which Francesco and Chiara were baptized, and the marvelous crypt of the Basilica Ugoniana which dates back to the 12th century.
If you are looking for an original walk, a nice idea can be the tour of the medieval walls and the passage of the relative doors which are 7, without forgetting to take a picture postcard from the Rocca Maggiore.
If you are hungry
Assisi will not only fill your spiritual hunger, but it will definitely fill your stomach with some amazing food. Do not leave the town before having tasted at least 4 Assisane specialties:
- Pecorino cheese
- Ciauscolo (spreadable salami made from a mixture of pork)
- Umbricelli, (large handmade spaghetti with truffles or norcina)
- Rocciata (sweet of medieval origin typical of Assisi, filled with apples, hazelnuts, walnuts and raisins)
Enjoy your stay!