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Assisi Travel Guide - Sights to See
Assisi is ideally placed on the rise to Mount Subasio... the site of many pilgrimages, and is forever linked in legend with its native son, St. Francis, who shares with St. Catherine of Sienna as the Patron Saint of Italy.

Basilica of St. Francis: This is really two churches... an upper and lower, which houses the most important cycle of frescoes in Italy... by Cimabue and Giotto. Both churches were built in the 13th century. Enter the upper church through the central doorway, look to your left and see Giotto's most famous fresco, St. Francis Preaching To The Birds. In the Upper church, you'll find an additional 27 frescoes. Proceed up the Nave, turn left, and see Cimabue's Crucifixion. Proceed down the stairs to the Lower church and see Cimabue's Virgin And Child. In the chapel honoring St. Martin, there are works by Martini. Under the central part of the Lower church is the Crypt of St. Francis. A recent earthquake destroyed many of the priceless frescoes, but they have now been restored.

Church of S. Rufino: From the 12th century... on the Piazza S. Rufino... with a Romanesque facade enhanced by rose windows. This is one of the finest churches in Italy's hill towns. St. Francis and St. Clare were both baptized here.

Basilica of S. Chiara: Located on the Piazza S.Chiara... honors the second most important Saint of Assisi. Her tomb and preserved body is in a glass coffin below the main floor. The church dates from the 13th century.

Temple of Minerva + Piazza Del Communie: These are the heart of Assisi. The square is a dream for lovers of architecture. The Temple of Minerva with six Corinthian columns dates from the first century BC. It was turned into a Baroque church. Adjoining the temple is the 13th century Tower of the People.

Rocca Maggiore: Drive up Via della Rocca, which strides a hill overlooking Assisi. The view of the Umbrian countryside is sensational. The present Fortress is now in ruins and dates from the 14th century.

Eremo Delle Carceri (Prison's Hermitage): Located 2 1/2 miles east of Assisi, out the Via Eremo delle Carceri, this structure dates from the 14-15th centuries. It is believed that St. Francis retired to this spot for meditation and prayer. Visit the Grotto to see the stone bed on which he slept. Out back is a gnarled, moss-covered oak tree, more than 1000 years old, where St. Francis blessed the birds. One drives to this area slowly, on hairpin curves almost all the way. Hours 8 - Sunset.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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