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Comune di Assisi
Flag of Assisi
Coat of arms of Assisi
Location of Assisi
Assisi is located in Italy
Location of Assisi in Umbria
Assisi is located in Umbria
Assisi (Umbria)
Coordinates: 43°04′33″N 12°37′03″E / 43.07583°N 12.61750°E / 43.07583; 12.61750
ProvincePerugia (PG)
FrazioniArmenzano, Capodacqua, Castelnuovo, Palazzo, Petrignano, Rivotorto, Santa Maria degli Angeli, San Vitale, Sterpeto, Torchiagina, Tordandrea, Tordibetto, Col d'Erba, Col d'Erba III, Collicello, Passaggio di Assisi, Pian della Pieve, Pieve San Nicolò, Podere Casanova, Ponte Grande, Renaiola, Rocca Sant'Angelo, San Damiano, San Gregorio, San Martino, San Martino Basso, San Presto, Santa Tecla, Tomba, Tombetta, Valecchie
 • MayorStefania Proietti (PD)
 • Total186.8 km2 (72.1 sq mi)
424 m (1,391 ft)
 (1 January 2022)[2]
 • Total27,862
 • Density150/km2 (390/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code075
Patron saintSt. Rufinus of Assisi
Saint day12 August
Websitewww.comune.assisi.pg.it Edit this at Wikidata
Official nameAssisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites
IncludesSan Damiano, Eremo delle Carceri, Santuario di Rivotorto, Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and Palazzo del Capitano del Perdono
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Inscription2000 (24th Session)
Area14,563.25 ha
Buffer zone4,086.7 ha

Assisi (/əˈssi/,[3] also US: /-zi, əˈsɪsi, -ɪzi/,[4][5][6] Italian: [asˈsiːzi]; from Latin: Asisium; Central Italian: Ascesi) is a town and comune of Italy in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio.

It is generally regarded as the birthplace of the Latin poet Propertius, born around 50–45 BC. It is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d'Offreducci), who with St. Francis founded the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. The 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in Assisi.



The earliest attested people of Assisi were the Umbri. In 77AD Pliny the Elder described Regio VI Umbria and said that the Umbri were thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Italy. The people of Assisi were mentioned by name.[7] The Romans took control of central Italy after the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BC. They built the flourishing municipium Asisium on a series of terraces on Monte Subasio. Roman remains can still be found in Assisi: city walls, the forum (now Piazza del Comune), a theatre, an amphitheatre and the Temple of Minerva (now transformed into the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva). In 1997, the remains of a Roman villa were also discovered containing several well-preserved rooms with frescoes and mosaics in a condition rarely found outside sites such as Pompei.

The Augustan age poet Propertius is considered to have been born in what is now the city of Assisi.

In 238 AD Assisi was converted to Christianity by bishop Rufino, who was martyred at Costano. According to tradition, his remains rest in the Cathedral Church of San Rufino in Assisi.

The Ostrogoths of king Totila destroyed most of the town in 545. Assisi then came under the rule of the Lombards as part of the Lombard and then Frankish Duchy of Spoleto.

The thriving commune became an independent Ghibelline commune in the 11th century. Constantly struggling with the Guelph Perugia, it was during one of those battles, the battle at Collestrada, that Francesco di Bernardone (Saint Francis of Assisi) was taken prisoner, setting in motion the events that eventually led him to live as a beggar, renounce the world and establish the Order of Friars Minor.

Temple of Minerva in the Piazza del Comune.

The city, which had remained within the confines of the Roman walls, began to expand outside these walls in the 13th century. In this period the city was under papal jurisdiction. The Rocca Maggiore, the imperial fortress on top of the hill above the city, which had been plundered by the people in 1189, was rebuilt in 1367 on orders of the papal legate, cardinal Gil de Albornoz.

In the beginning, Assisi fell under the rule of Perugia and later under several despots, such as the soldier of fortune Biordo Michelotti, Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his successor Francesco I Sforza, dukes of Milan, Jacopo Piccinino and Federico II da Montefeltro, lord of Urbino. The city went into a deep decline through the plague of the Black Death in 1348.

The city came again under papal jurisdiction under the rule of Pope Pius II (1458–1464).

In 1569 construction was started of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. During the Renaissance and in later centuries, the city continued to develop peacefully, as the 17th-century palazzi of the Bernabei and Giacobetti attest.

Now the site of many a pilgrimage, Assisi is linked in legend with its native son, St. Francis. The gentle saint founded the Franciscan order and shares honours with St. Catherine of Siena as the patron saint of Italy. He is remembered by many, even non-Christians, as a lover of nature (his preaching to an audience of birds is one of the legends of his life).

The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in December 2023

During World War II Assisi was occupied by Nazi Germany in September 1943. To save Jews in Italy the Catholic Church started the Assisi Network and hid Jews in the city. As the Allies moved up Italy, Germany declared Assisi an open city and pulled out, turning the city over to Italian partisans. The 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales) entered the city on 17 June 1944. Colonel Valentin Müller, a German medical officer and a Catholic, was able to make Assisi a German hospital city for German troops in Italy in the summer of 1944, helping save Assisi from destruction, unlike Cassino.[8][9][10]

Assisi was hit by two devastating earthquakes that shook Umbria in September 1997. But the recovery and restoration have been remarkable, although much remains to be done. Massive damage was caused to many historical sites, but the major attraction, the Basilica di San Francesco, reopened less than 2 years later.

Main sights


UNESCO collectively designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi as a World Heritage Site in 2000.



Other landmarks

Rocca Maggiore, December 2023
Aereal view of San Damiano complex
Eremo delle Carceri.

The town is dominated by two medieval castles. The larger, called Rocca Maggiore, is a massive reconstruction by Cardinal Albornoz (1366) and expanded by popes Pius II (polygonal tower, 1458) and Paul III (the cylindrical bastion near the entrance, 1535–1538). The smaller of the two was built in Roman era: it has been only partially preserved, a small portion and three towers being open to the public.

Other sights include:

  • the Roman amphitheater, built in the early 1st century AD. Its elliptical plan is identifiable from the medieval houses built around it, and from an arch of travertine cunei. The arena now houses a garden.[11]
  • the Piazza del Comune ("Communal Square"), with the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (mid-13th century, featuring a series of merlons added in 1927), the adjoining Torre del Popolo ("People's Tower", 1305) the Palazzo dei Priori ("Palace of the Priors", 1275–1493). The fountains with three lions on the southern side date from the 16th century.
  • The Temple of Minerva, also facing the Piazza del Comune
  • The abbey of St. Benedict, founded in the 10th century on the Monte Subasio. Remains include the crypt (late 11th century), the apse and the external walls.
Pietro Lorenzetti detail fresco, Assisi Basilica, 1310–1329.


See also Art in Assisi

Assisi has had a rich tradition of art through the centuries and is now home to a number of well-known artistic works.[12]

Artists Pietro Lorenzetti and Simone Martini worked shoulder to shoulder at Assisi. The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi includes a number of artistic works. Simone Martini's 1317 fresco there reflects the influence of Giotto in realism and the use of brilliant colours. Lorenzetti's fresco at the lower church of the Basilica includes a series of panels depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus, Deposition from the Cross, and Entombment of Christ. The figures Lorenzetti painted display emotions, yet the figures in these scenes are governed by geometric emotional interactions, unlike many prior depictions which appeared to be independent iconic aggregations. Lorenzetti's 1330 Madonna dei Tramonti also reflects the ongoing influence of Giotto on his Marian art, midway through his career.[13][14]


c. 1920 travel poster

The Calendimaggio Festival takes place on the first four days of May ending on a Saturday. The festival is a re-enactment of medieval and Renaissance life in the form of a challenge between the upper faction (parte de sopra) with a blue flag and the lower faction of the town (parte de sotto) with a red flag. It includes processions, theatrical presentations, choirs, crossbow, flag-waving and dancing contests.

Assisi Embroidery is a form of counted-thread embroidery which has been practised in Assisi since the 13th century.

Today many groups gather in Assisi for a variety of cultural and religious activities. One such group[which?] restored [when?] an 11th-century room and added altars to the world's religions. Other organizations, such as Assisi Performing Arts,[15] host musical performances and other cultural events.



Assisi was the home of several saints, including:



Assisi railway station, opened in 1866, forms part of the Foligno–Terontola railway, which also links Florence with Rome. The station is located at Piazza Dante Alighieri, in the frazione of Santa Maria degli Angeli, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southwest of the city centre.

International relations


Twin towns – sister cities


Assisi is twinned with:[16]



The two papal basilicas sited in Assisi (the only ones not in Rome) gave their name to the two major cities in California: San Francisco and St. Mary of the Angels at the Porziuncula.


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Resident population". demo. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Assisi". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Assisi". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Assisi". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Assisi". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  7. ^ Bostock, John (2018). Pliny the Elder, The Natural History. Perseus Digital Library.
  8. ^ "Assisi in World War II: Convents Shelter the Jewish Refugees". Annesitaly. 3 February 2021.
  9. ^ "How Catholic leaders in Assisi, and even a German officer, saved Jews in WWII". Aleteia – Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture. 2 July 2020.
  10. ^ read, Deborah Castellano Lubov·Trending News··4 min (27 January 2022). "Historic Significance of Assisi in Protecting Jewish Refugees". Exaudi.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Harris, W.; DARMC, R. Talbert; S. Gillies, J. Åhlfeldt; J. Becker, T. Elliott (22 September 2019). "Places: 413037 (Asisium)". Pleiades. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Web Gallery of Art – Art of Simone". wga.hu.
  13. ^ "Pietro Lorenzetti :: Biography ► Virtual Uffizi". Virtual Uffizi Gallery.
  14. ^ "Umbria Art". Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  15. ^ "Assisi Performing Arts - Summer Music Festival in Assisi, Italy". assisiperformingarts. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Documento Unico di Programmazione 2016-2021 – DUP" (PDF). comune.assisi.pg.it (in Italian). Assisi. October 2016. p. 63,78. Retrieved 13 December 2019.