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Assisi, Assisi

See the Umbria Guide ›
Italy, Europe: Assisi's hilltop fortress, known as the Rocca Maggiore
Tourist Info: Piazza del Comune
Italy 06081
Tel: 39 075 812 534's insider take:

The city of Saint Francis, Assisi looms above the surrounding olive groves like a holy ocean liner. There's some sprawl in the lower town outside the walls, but the handsome, stone-built upper town perches intact and aloof on a spur of Monte Subasio, the mountain where the saint went on retreat with his followers. At the northern end of the upper town, the Basilica di San Francesco, fully restored after a devastating 1997 earthquake, contains Giotto's remarkable Life of St. Francis fresco cycle from around 1296—a first step toward what would come to exemplify the art of Italy's Renaissance (Piazza Superiore di San Francesco and Piazza Inferiore di San Francesco; 39-075-819-001). The upper town also has some smaller churches worth visiting, including the Cattedrale di San Rufino (Piazza San Rufino; 39-075-812-283) and Basilica di Santa Chiara (Piazza Santa Chiara; 39-075-812-282). In the lower town, the bombastic Baroque church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is an over-the-top container for the remains of the eleventh-century oratory that Francis adopted as a place of meditation and prayer (Piazza Porziuncola; 39-075-80-511;

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