A daily tour in Assisi

Ciao a Tutti!

For the first post about Italy and italian culture i would like to share with you a day that i have spent in Assisi, probably the most famous city in Umbria and one of the most important place in the world for Christians.

Before sharing some pictures about the place I went to, I would like to make an historic excursus about the city.

Built by the Etruscans, after their defeat by the Romans in the battle of Sentinum, in 295B.C.,Assisi became a really important city.

In fact “Assisium” (Roman name of Assisi), was inhabited by wealthy merchants who owned luxury villas and was also renowned as a town with amazing hot springs; as you know Romans where really into hygiene and physical wellness and hot springs were essential for them.

After the Roman Empire capitulation, the city was under the rule to the dukes of Spoleto and then reached the independence as a municipality during the 1100 A.C.

During the 16th century it became part of the Papal state.

What makes Assisi so famous and important is the history of San Francesco (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), a saint known for his life philosophy, in fact even if he was a wealthy person (son of a Merchant), he decided to abandon his previous life and to spend his days as a poor spreading the words of Jesus Christ and the Lord.

Francesco also founded the Franciscan order in 1209 and, this should be interesting for you that are studying Italian Language, he wrote the “Cantico delle creature” (Canticle of the sun”), a religious song in Umbrian dialect, believed to be among the first works of literature, if not the first, written in the Italian language.

During our visit to the city first we joined the tour of “Assisi sotterranea (underground Assisi) and the the two Roman villas".

In the first part we saw what is remaining of the ancient “foro romano” (roman forum), now placed right under the city square which was built during the medieval age right over the ancient one.


Roman remains under the city main square

Except for a lot of capitelli and statues there is also the basement of a temple with the access doors to the pronaos, a monumental cistern, a podium with seats for the magistrates, a tetrastyle temple dedicated to Castor and Pollux.

Then for the second part of the tour we headed to the villas called "Domus del Larario" (1st century B.C.) and "Domus di Properzio" (also build in the 1st century B.C)


The art, the color and the modern looking architecture of the rooms are breathtaking.

Details of the decoration of the villa

After the visit we went to take an espresso the main square where the rest of the roman Minerva temple fuse with the medieval architecture.

We spent the last part of the day visiting the basil of St. Francis;

Started to build in 1228, just after two years of the death of Saint, the day following the solemn canonization of the saint.

It is divided in two parts, the lower basil and upper basil plus the crypt.

What amazed us the most are the frescoes made by many famous artists such as Cimabue, Cavallini and the series of 28 frescoes ascribed to the young Giotto along the lower part of the nave on the Upper Basilica that illustrate all the life of the Saint Francis.

Giotto's frescoes in the upper Basilica

View outside the Basilica

The day is almost over, we went to all the beautiful places we wanted to see; visiting all these beautiful things made time fly!

Hope you enjoyed our first tour, for comments you can post below.

A presto!

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