Assisi needs little introduction. This UNESCO world heritage site sits on the western spur of Mount
Subasio. Most of the medieval buildings - religious and domestic - within the city walls are constructed
from pink and white stone quarried from Mount Subasio, giving the rambling centro storico a very
harmonious feel. The town's most famous son, St Francis, lies entombed in the lower half of the Basilica
di San Francesco. This part of the Basilica was constructed in an astonishing two years (1228-1230)
only two years after the saint's canonisation. The upper part of the church was completed in 1253, but
has been added-to in various ways over the succeeding centuries. Aside from the magnificence of the
building itself, the Basilica is renowned for the frescoes by Cimabue, Giotto and Simone Martini in the
lower church and for the cycle of 28 frescoes in the upper church, depicting scenes from St.
Bonaventura's account of the life of St Francis, by Giotto and his school.
Time from Mazzaforte: 70 minutes
Market day: Wednesday
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Two panels from the cycle of
frescoes in the upper part of
the Basilica, both by Giotto.
Left, St. Francis giving his
cloak to a poor man, and right,
the verification of the stigmata.
There are many other fine churches and monuments in the town, including extensive archeological
remains from the period when it was an important Roman city. Today, Assisi continues to attract huge
numbers of pilgrims and tourists, so be prepared for crowds.
Above, the Papal altar in the lower Basilica and right, the
nave of the upper Basilica, showing Giotto's frescoes lining
the lower walls
The upper church,
or Basilica superiore