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Umbria - Places to visit - Assisi

Town Hall: P.zza del Comune, 1- 06081 ASSISI (PG)
Tel. 075/81381 Fax. 075/8138264
Altitude a.s.l.: 424 m. Maximumm Altitude: 1.290 m.
Population: (Assisani o Assisiti): 25.000 c N. of Hamlets: 13
Twin Towns: Betlemme (Israele), San Francisco (USA),
Svenborg (Danimarca)

Assisi rises on the western slopes of Mount Subasio from where it dominates a very fertile plain. In the centre of the plain the imposing structure of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels is silhouetted against the horizon. Assisi is known as the city of Peace and the ecumenical meeting place of world religions.

Assisis medieval aspect has remained intact and is characterised by its typical white and pink stone. Visitors to Assisi can perceive the intensity of the Franciscan spirituality and that of the other great saints who have blessed this land.

Assisi in Umbria

BRIEF HISTORY

Assisi, like many Umbrian municipalities which where situated in strategic locations of economic or military importance, had to endure over many centuries, a series of invasions, occupations, pillage, civil struggles, destruction and reconstruction.

The Umbrians, who founded Assisi, were succeeded by the Etruscans.

The Etruscans were driven out by the Romans and in the 1st century b.C. Assisi becomes a Roman municipality and lives a period of peace and prosperity until the fall of the Roman Empire.

In 545 a.C. Assisi, which had already been converted to Christianity by the works of its first Bishop Rufino, is attacked and destroyed by the Goths of Totila.

The Goths are succeeded by the Longobards whom incorporate Assisi into the Duchy of Spoleto.

Assisi in Umbria

The typical turbulent events of the Early Middle Ages then follow, until the 11th century when Assisi becomes an independent municipality.

Assisi's independence does not last long.

In 1174, Federico Barbarossa subjugates Assisi. In the years that follow Assisi fights continuous battles to defend its independence against the Empire, the Papacy and against Perugia and other cities close-by.

At the end of the 11th century, 2 great saints are born in Assisi: Francis (1182) and Clare (1193).

The political and military instability continues until the 16th cent. when, after many dominating groups (Papacy 13th and 14th cent.; Gian Galeazzo Visconti 1400; Braccio Fortebraccio 1419; Francesco Sforza 1430) Assisi becomes part of the Papal State (with the exception of the Napoleonic period). Assisi remains under the rule of the Papal State until 1860, when it becomes part of the Kingdom of Italy.

SIGHTS TO SEE

In the centre of town:

Basilica of St. Francis and the Sacred Convent (13th cent.).

Basilica of St. Francis and the Sacred Convent

Basilica of St. Francis, the interior of the upper Church

Basilic of St.Francis,

St. Francis by Cimabue

Basilica of St. Clare (13th cent.);

Panoramic view of the Basilica of St. Clare

Panoramic view of the Cathedral of San Rufino Cathedral of San Rufino (11th-13th cent.)

Pilgrims Oratory (1457)

Church of S. Maria Maggiore (4th cent.), ruins of a roman building

Palace of the Municipal Library

Roman Forum Civic Museum and Roman Forum, with Roman and Etruscan objects

The Piazza del Comune:

Municipal Tower (13th cent.)

Palace of the Podest

Priors Palace, seat of the Municipal Picture Gallery

Temple of Minerva

Outside the walls:

Rocca Maggiore (14th cent.), built on an existing ancient structure

Sanctuary of St. Damian Sanctuary of St. Damian

Hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri);

Hermitage - Eremo delle Carceri

Assisi in Umbria

Surrounding Area:

Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels (16th-17th cent.), built around the "Porziuncola", a small church nucleus of the first Franciscan community

Basilic of St. Mary of the Angels

Inside of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels - "La Porziuncola"

Sanctuary of Rivotorto (19th cent.)

Sanctuary of Rivotorto

Park of Mount Subasio

FOLKLORE AND EVENTS:

Procession of the Dead Christ (Holy week)

Antique Fair and Market (April-May)

May Day (Calendimaggio) (first Thursday of May). Recalls the past conflicts between the Upper and Lower Districts of town. Theatre performances, concerts, parades, dances, exhibitions by bow-men, crossbow-men and flag-wavers which are all organised in competitions between the 2 opposing town districts. The May Day celebrations end with the winning district being awarded a prize.

Festival of San Rufino (August)

Festival of St. Clare (August)

Festival of Forgiveness (Perdono) (July-August)

Festival of St. Francis (October)

TYPICAL LOCAL PRODUCTS

Various handmade products
Embroidery with "Assisi stitch" (punto Assisi)
Stonework from Assisi, with the typical white and pink veins

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