Guided Tour of Assisi
Discovering the great pilgrimage site in the footsteps of Saint Francis
If you are curious about the wonderful city of Assisi, the places that characterise it and make it the most famous Umbrian city in the world, you can’t miss this fascinating guided tour of the most beautiful and evocative sites.
In the company of qualified and competent guides, you will begin your tour from one of the most important symbols of the city, the Basilica di San Francesco, an architectural masterpiece that has been recognised and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 2000. In the two overlapping and independent churches, you’ll have the chance to see extraordinary works by famous artists like Giotto, Cimabue, Lorenzetti and Simone Martini, and finally, inside the crypt, you can see the remains of St Francis.
Continuing through the historic centre, we will enter Piazza del Comune, the hub of the city’s political, social and cultural activities, with its important buildings and the Tempio di Minerva, a Roman Republican building that has now become the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. You will be able to admire the facade and its marvellous Corinthian columns, which have been preserved intact for more than two thousand years. In Assisi you can also visit the Chiesa Nuova, built on the spot where St Francis’ house once stood and where he was locked up by his father who refused to accept his decision to embrace total poverty. Near the Chiesa Nuova, you can also visit the Oratorio di San Francesco Piccolino which was a stable in ancient times and, according to legend, represents the exact place where St Francis was born
Of particular importance is the Basilica di Santa Chiara, located opposite the Basilica di San Francesco, but on the opposite side of the city. Here there are some relics of St Chiara and the Crucifix that had spoken to St Francis.
To conclude the itinerary before lunch, you’ll visit the Cattedrale di San Rufino. It sports a glorious facade carved in Romanesque style and contains the baptismal font in which St Francis and St Clare received the sacrament of Baptism.
If you choose the option of a full-day guided tour, the tour of the city of Assisi will continue after lunch with an exploration of other important places related to the life of St Francis but located outside the walls of the medieval city.
About 5 km from Assisi, surrounded by lush vegetation, the Eremo delle Carceri (hermitage) stands at 800 metres a.s.l. It is located on the slopes of Monte Subasio where St Francis withdrew with his followers to devote himself to periods of deep prayer. The place has maintained a mystical atmosphere of great spirituality and where time seems to have stood still since the days of St Francis. The hermitage stands near the cell-like cave of St Francis.
Continuing the itinerary towards other Franciscan sites, we will reach the Chiesa di S. Damiano, currently one of the most important places of worship in Assisi. The small and welcoming church, which stands on the remains of an ancient building, was rebuilt thanks to St Francis after the Crucifix spoke to him. Later, Santa Chiara (St Clare) and the ‘Povere Dame di San Damiano’ (the Poor Clares), founded a monastery there, and it is here that St Francis composed the famous Laudes Creaturarum or ‘Canticle of the Creatures’. This sacred place also houses graceful frescoes and a copy of the crucifix that communicated with St Francis.
The guided tour will end with a visit to the wonderful Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e della Porziuncola, the small chapel located within it, a place of prayer and of particular importance for St Francis. Here he is said to have understood his vocation, welcomed St Clare on the occasion of his conversion and founded the first order of Franciscan Friars, the Friars Minor, in 1208.