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Sightseeing in Assisi - what to see. Complete travel guide

The picturesque province of Perugia invites guests of Italy to visit the charming town of Assisi. This town is the birthplace of Saint Francis and one of his first followers, Saint Clare. To memorize the name of the saints, local architects built two gorgeous churches. Saint Rufinus is widely recognized as the patron saint of Assisi, so no wonder why local people built a gorgeous cathedral in his name. Nowadays, this is one of the major attractions in the town.
The history of the city started approximately one thousand years BC. Modern Umbrian people are the first settlers in the area. However, the region started developing only in the 5th century when Etruscans claimed this part of the country. Only one year later, the calm life of the town ended as Roman troops entered Assisi. The Romans named the town Assisium. Later, the name changed to the form that we know now. Local people became Christians in the 3rd century, and the town’s bishop – Rufinus of Assisi – actively participated in this.
When Visigoths invaded the territory of Italy, they plundered the town and destroyed many of its attractions. However, this was not the end of Assisi. Frederick Barbarossa conquered the city during his Second Italian campaign in the 12th century. This is the time when the first fortifications appeared in the town. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
The 13th and 14th centuries were also important for Assisi. Many sacral buildings appeared in the town at that time. After that, the population of Assisi had to endure many troubles and tough periods including the civil war in Italy and Napoleon’s invasion. The town has managed to survive and become an interesting tourist destination.
The Communal Square (Piazza del Comune) is the heart of Assisi. This is where visitors can see the majority of the town’s landmarks. Archaeological findings proved that there was a Roman forum on the site of the square in the past. The forum hosted the town’s government meetings and public disputes. Until the 13th century, the square was nothing but a simple part of the town. Steadily, new and new gorgeous buildings appeared at the perimeter of the square, turning it into a real landmark of the region.
In the Piazza del Comune, tourists can see the Temple of Minerva, a gorgeous landmark of the antique period. The temple was built in the 1st century BC. Its intricate details tell us that this is a very old building. The year of 1282 gave the town Palazzo del Capitano or the Captain’s Palace. The palace was built for military needs. Palazzo dei Priori or the Palace of the Priors is located nearby. It took two centuries (XIII-XV) to build it.
Later, the palace provided shelter to holy fathers. Nowadays, the town’s municipality is open in it. This is a gorgeous building that tourists shouldn’t forget to visit. Despite the fact that the administration of Assisi is now open in the palace, the building still has its original décor with ancient coats of arms. The ceiling is decorated with skillfully made frescos. Even the faces of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are untouched and decorate the palace.
As it was mentioned before, the Cathedral of San Rufino is one of the main attractions of the town. The cathedral got its name after Saint Rufinus. Historians carefully studied records but couldn’t find out the exact date when the cathedral had been built. According to one source, the relics of the saint were brought to the building at the beginning of the fifth century, and some records state that the relics were brought in the eighth century. Only one historical fact doesn’t raise any questions – the church got the cathedral status in the 11th century.
The look of the church has somewhat changed through years because the cathedral underwent as many as five renovations and reorganizations. Near the entrance to the cathedral, visitors can see interesting sculpted details with different animals and flowers. This is an amazing opportunity to get oneself familiar with the architectural peculiarities of the Middle Ages. Inside, the cathedral has a gorgeous Renaissance-style décor. The ceiling still has precious frescos of the 17th century and stuccos that date back to the 19th century. Two statues – of Saint Francis and Saint Clare – complete the design of the cathedral.
These are not all attractions that Assisi can offer to its guests. There is an interesting church museum near the exit where visitors can look at paintings and other artifacts of the 14th and 15th centuries. The terracotta sculpture named Our Lady of Sorrows is a unique relic of the region. Besides it, visitors can see an ancient organ and the most interesting – relics of Saint Rufinus with ancient stones.
It is easy to reach Assisi by train from such Italian cities as Perugia, Florence, and Rome. After that, the “C” bus takes guests of the town from the railway station to the central part of Assisi. Tourists can also take this bus to get to the cathedral. Besides trains, it is possible to reach Assisi by bus. The cities mentioned above have regular intercity buses to Assisi.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Assisi and surroundings

Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Assisi
♥   Castle 'Rocca Maggiore' Assisi, 0.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castelbuono di Bevagna' Bevagna, 14.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello di Monterone' Perugia, 16.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello di Petroia' Gubbio, 18.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Rocca Paolina' Perugia, 19.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Assisi
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale dei Monti Sibillini' , 40.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga' , 96.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna' , 121.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise' , 170 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Assisi and around
♥   Art museum 'Galleria Nazionale dell Umbria' Perugia, 19.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Assisi from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Cascata delle Marmore

From the series “Most Fanciful Waterfalls of the Planet”
In the prehistoric era, the Velino river formed a vast, swampy area. According to local residents, it was the cause of the spread of serious diseases. The construction of the canal for water diversion began in 271 BC on the orders of Manius Curius Dentatus. Over time, the canal has become worthless. The artificial waterfall the contemporaries see today was built in the Middle Ages. As early as the 18th century, this picturesque area began to attract travellers. Next to the waterfall, the first small bridges and viewing platforms were built. … Read further

Underground Orvieto

From the series “Unbelievable Underground Mini-Cities”
The most valuable found was the prehistorical tombs. Etruscan had made a lot of necropoleis. Underground Orvieto is one of the most explored underground cities in the world. There were found hundreds of historical artefacts: ancient jars, funeral merchandises, weapon and Etruscan household items. Orvieto has a wonderful excursion around its undergrounds for travellers. During the excursion, it is possible to take photos and make videos for free. … Read further
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Sightseeing in regions nearby Assisi

All about Assisi, Italy - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Assisi, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Assisi in few days.
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