Assisi, Italy is a small hilltop city located in the Umbria region of central Italy that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. I have visited Assisi twice. Both times I was leading a group of student musicians on a performance tour and Assisi was a half-day stop while travelling by chartered bus between Rome and Florence. Even while herding teens the peaceful atmosphere of this lovely hilltop town is palpable.
Assisi is most famous for being the birthplace of St. Francis, one of the most beloved and influential saints in the Catholic Church. Assisi is not just a destination for religious pilgrims. The city is also a treasure trove of art and history, with beautiful medieval streets, charming squares, and numerous museums and art galleries.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Assisi is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. The city is situated on a hilltop, and from almost any vantage point, you can see rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque valleys. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in the area, including hiking, biking, and picnicking in the surrounding countryside.
The Covent of San Francisco
The Assisi convent, also known as the Convent of San Francisco, is a complex of buildings that includes the Basilica of St. Francis, the tomb of St. Francis, and several other churches and monasteries.
The Convent of San Francesco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many beautiful frescoes and works of art, including those by famous artists such as Giotto and Cimabue.
The Basilica is composed of two churches: the Upper Church, which contains many beautiful frescoes painted by famous artists such as Giotto and Cimabue, and the Lower Church, which contains the tomb of St. Francis. The frescoes in the Upper Church depict the life and teachings of St. Francis, and are considered some of the finest examples of Italian Gothic art. Visitors can also tour the Basilica of St. Clare, where St. Francis' friend and fellow saint, Clare of Assisi, is buried.
The Basilica of St. Francis is an important place of worship for Catholics. It is very common to see various religious persons and pilgrims throughout the town who come to Assisi from all over the world to visit the Basilica and pay respects to St. Francis.
The Rocca Maggiore is a medieval fortress that was built in the 13th century and has been beautifully preserved over the years. The gardens surrounding the fortress are a blend of formal and informal styles, with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees providing a stunning backdrop for a leisurely stroll. Located on a hill overlooking the city, these gardens offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and are a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city (or a group of rambunctious teens).
In addition to the gardens, the Rocca Maggiore is also home to a small museum that contains exhibits on the history of the fortress and the surrounding region. Visitors can learn about the history of the fortress and the role it played in the defence of Assisi.
Meander the streets
I love the winding narrow streets of Assisi but it is important to be aware that pedestrians are sharing these roads with vehicles. Be prepared to flatten yourself against a wall at frequent intervals.
Look for the specialty food shops and don't to pick up some balsamic vinegar, a specialty of the area. Enjoy the charming window displays. I have never had a full meal in Assisi but I have enjoyed some tasty pizza and many fine samples of local delicacies.
Whether you're interested in religion, art, history, or natural beauty, Assisi has something to offer everyone. It's a peaceful and serene place that is well worth a visit. So if you're planning a trip to Italy, be sure to put Assisi on your list of must-see destinations.
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