Assisi 770x162

Assisi: Unesco, saints and medieval districts

On the East of Perugia, Assisi is standing out, an icon of routes focused on Saint Francis’ tracks, the patron saint of Italy who became a Saint in 1228. This Saint and the spreading of his ideology are the keys to understand the town and even the urban centre is matched to this image, a medieval heart where the Franciscan monuments are placed as balancing signs. A “magnificent religiousness” where S. Francis’ Church is standing out, it is the heritage of Unesco and it is not by chance that the first “World exhibition of Unesco’s towns and sites” were held here in 2010”. Made of two churches, one on the top of the other, the one belonging to the XIIIth century keeps an incredible richness of paintings that cover the whole inner walls, works by Giotto, Cimabue and Simone Martini

In particular, in the nave of the upper church you can see the amazing cycle of the life of Saint Francis ascribed to Giotto and his school, made of 28 frescoes: a cycle that has set the iconography of the Saint forever, passing on the facts of his life as the official biography meant to do, “Legenda maior”, of 1263. The Churches of Santa Chiara – dating back to the XIIIth century and the Church of S.Maria degli Angeli dating back to the XVIth century are placed side by side to the big Church in the plane of angels, at the foot of Assissi with the very famous Chapel of Porziuncola (X-XI century). The elaborated and huge architectural structure doesn’t belong to the Franciscan mysticism and it was bound to the need of welcoming crowds of pilgrims. At the beginning of the presbytery, on the right, there is the chapel of Transito, the cell where Saint Francis died on October the 4th 1226. The routes of travellers, after they have left Assisi, can go towards the Park of Mount Subasio where, at 800 metres of eight – among the oaks and the holm oaks – there’s one of the places that are the richest in the Franciscan memories and suggestions, the hermitage of Santa Maria delle Carceri.

 The ancient core is made of a small church surrounded by caves where Saint Francis and his followers used to hide for their meditations: don’t miss the cave of S. Francis, where the saint used to rest and pray. The whole historical centre of Assisi is within the park and it underlines the natural beauties and the historical features of the area. This protected area could be even called the “Park of Assisi”. There are plenty of literary routes within the Park of Mount Subasio – more than 7.000 hectares – surrounded by sculptures that highlight the existing links between the natural landscape and the creatures that are the protagonists of the “Cantico” by Saint Francis.


Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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