Between Tupino and the stream that flows / adown the hill which blest Ubaldo chose, / a lofty mountain’s fertile slope impends, / from which Perugia feels at Porta Sole / both cold and heat; / while, for their heavy yoke, / behind it Gualdo and Nocera weep.
Out of this hillside, where it breaketh most / its steepness, to the world a sun was born, / as out of Ganges this one is at times; / therefore let him who talks about that place / not say Ascesi, which were not enough; / but Orient say, if he would rightly speak.
With such words Dante describes Assisi, the hometown of St Francis. Visiting Assisi in just one day is hardly achievable because of the number of sites to see and admire. In this section you will find some suggestions to make the most out your day trip.
Starting from the upper part of the town, you will plunge in a thick network of medieval alleys that, nonetheless, still bring testimony of the Roman past of Assisi. From here you can descend in Piazza San Rufino, where the majestic Romanesque cathedral consecrated to the saint patron of the town towers above the square. Proceeding along the steep downhill streets (via Dono Doni and via Sermei), you will reach the basilica of St Clare, the first disciple of St Francis and founder of the Order of the Poor Clares. This gothic church houses the famous Crucifix of St Damiano and a crypt where the body of St Clare is displayed. Continuing our stroll along Corso Mazzini, we enter Piazza del Comune, the main town square since the Roman Empire. Here stands the Roman Temple of Minerva, now a baroque church, side by side with the main municipal buildings since the Middle Ages. From Piazza del Comune you will descend through via Portica, a street that still shows the remains of medieval workshops and stores; here you can access the ancient Roman Forum, now lying under Piazza del Comune. Via Fortini and via San Francesco were once the main streets of Assisi and there you can still come across buildings dating back from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 19th century. After passing these two streets, you will finally reach the Basilica of Saint Francis, one of the most important centres of Christianity in the world. This monumental complex houses the famous frescoes by Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini and Lorenzetti. Inside the stone crypt, enclosed in a simple marble sarcophagus, lie the remains of Saint Francis.