Assisi - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Assisi


The picturesque hill town of Assisi, to the east of Perugia, is famous as the birthplace of St Francis, a 12th-century monk who founded the Franciscan order, devoted to achieving an 'abundance of the divine' through the practices of ascetism, poverty and chastity. Tourists and pilgrims flock to the bustling town for inspiration and worship, and a multitude of annual conferences, festivals and other religious activities are also dedicated to this aim.

Approaching the town of Assisi is a visual spectacle of shimmering white marble buildings perched halfway up Mount Subasio. The town is set against the backdrop of the towering 14th-century hill fortress of the Rocca Maggiore, a landmark with which to orientate oneself from inside the city's medieval ramparts while on holiday.

The most loved and visited church in Italy is the 13th-century Basilica di San Francesco, containing frescoes by Giotto commemorating the life of St Francis. Other notable works include paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti and Simone Martini's frescoes based on the life of St Martin. St Francis' tomb rests below the lower church, also worth visiting when on holiday on Assisi.

Information & Facts

The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St Francis, one of Italy's two patron saints, and is perched on a hilltop surrounded by the stunning countryside of Umbria.

With its winding streets, Roman ruins and beautiful churches, Assisi has changed little since medieval times. It is well worth the long walk up to the Basilica di San Francesco, which dates back to 1230 and includes Giotto's famous frescoes and a stunning lower chapel housing the remains of St Francis.

Almost all the four million tourists and pilgrims who travel to Assisi each year come to see the Basilica di San Francesco, but other sights include the 13th-century Basilica di Santa Chiara, the 12th-century Romanesque Duomo di San Rufino and the Eremo delle Carceri monastery, situated in the woodland outside the walls of Assisi.

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