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Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Historical Sites Of Assisi


Assisi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which boasts of many historical structures and buildings. Among the most popular ones are its basilicas and churches many of which are affiliated with St Francis. Assisi happens to be the birth place of Saint Francis, a distinguished saint revered by Catholic communities all over the world. For centuries now, Assisi has become a major destination for Catholic pilgrimages. 
During my walking tour around the town, I managed to see a number of these heritage sites all dating back to many centuries. 

The Gates
The medieval town of Assisi is surrounded by walls and there are eight gates from which one can enter. The gates which were built around the second half of the 13th century are protected by tall towers and are still well preserved.
This is Porta San Francesco, the gate from which we entered the town.
Porta San Francesco is a very high gate as can be seen here.

Porta Cappuccini (LHS) and Porta San Giocomo (RHS) are among the eight town gates mentioned. By the way 'porta' means gate.

The Fortress
To further strengthen the fortification of the ancient town, 2 fortresses were built. I managed to visit the more prominent one called Rocca Maggiore.

Rocca Maggiore was ruined but rebuilt in the 14th century. It still stands majestically on top of a hill. 
Walking around the more elevated parts of Assisi, one can enjoy a good view of the plains below.

Basilica of St Francis
The No 1 attraction of Assisi, I would say is the Basilica of St Francis. This basilica which is dedicated to St Francis now houses the tomb of St Francis. It is so magnanimous that it can be seen from afar. 
Basilica of St Francis is unique in that it consists of two churches one built on top of the other. 
The lower church or lower basilica is linked to the upper basilica by a flight of stairs.

This is the upper Basilica which faces a very spacious lawn.
From a distance, the upper basilica is a picture of peace and grandeur.

This is the lawn in front of the upper basilica
I am not too sure what this is but it is seen at the further end of the lawn.
The ceilings and walls inside the upper basilica is a sight to behold.

Other Basilicas & Churches
The Basilica of St Claire which is dedicated to St Claire now houses the body of the mentioned saint.
The Chiesa Nuova Church was presumably built on the site where St Francis was born.
The Church of San Rufino, also known as Assisi Cathedral was where St Francis and St Claire were baptised.
This is a less prominent church, Santa Maria Maggiore. There are many other churches in Assisi. You may have to extend your stay here if you wish to properly appreciate the details and interior of each and every church.

Piazza del Commune
Our walk took us to Piazza del Commune which is a public square in the heart of town. This town square is the busiest and most robust area in Assisi with lots of commercial activities.
There are a few prominent historical buildings and monument in this town square.
The Temple Of Minnerva is an ancient Roman building built in the 1st century BC. This building currently houses a church, Santa Maria Sopra Minnerva. Adjacent to Temple of Minnerva is Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (built in the mid 13th century) and the adjoining tower, Torre del Popolo( built in 1305). 
The Fountain of Three Lions erected in 1762 stands in the centre of the square. These are not the only historical structures around. Every building, every street, every square that are found in Assisi are historical and probably has an interesting history to tell.


2 comments :

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    1. Thanks Graham for the info. I am not a Catholic but I do appreciate the architectural and historical aspect of these religious buildings. They are lovely.

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