Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Thanks to St Francis, who was born here in 1182, this medieval hilltop town in the neighbouring re-
gion of Umbria is a major destination for millions of pilgrims. Its major drawcard is the Basilica di
San Francesco MAP GOOGLE MAP (Piazza di San Francesco; upper church 8.30am-6.45pm
summer, to 6pm winter, lower church 6am-6.45pm summer, to 6pm winter), which comprises two
churches filled with magnificent Renaissance art. The upper church was built between 1230 and
1253 in the Italian Gothic style and features a superb fresco cycle by Giotto. Downstairs, in the dimly
lit lower church , there's a series of colourful frescoes by Simone Martini, Cimabue and Pietro Loren-
zetti. The crypt where St Francis lies buried is below the church.
To book English-language guided tours of the basilica, contact its information office ( 075 819
00 84; ; 9.15am-noon & 2.15-5.30pm Mon-Sat) or fill out the form on
the website. The tourist office ( 0758 13 86 80; ; 8am-2pm &
3-6pm Mon-Sat, 10am-1pm Sun) on Piazza del Comune can supply general information about the
Assisi is a popular overnight destination, so you'll need to book ahead during peak times: Easter,
August, September and the Feast of St Francis (4 October). For a comfortable and well located sleep-
ing option, try Hotel Alexander (
075 81 61 90; ; Piazza Chiesa
Nuova 6; s €60-80, d €80-140;
). To eat, head to Trattoria Pallotta (
075 81 26 49; ; Vicolo della Volta Pinta; set menus €18-27;
lunch & dinner Wed-Mon;
or Trattoria Da Erminio (
075 81 25 06; ; Via Montecavallo 19; mains
€7-11, set menus €16;
lunch & dinner Fri-Wed, closed Feb & 1st half of Jul) for traditional Um-
brian dishes.
Sulga buses connect Assisi with Florence (€12.50, 2½ hours, twice weekly). A Zona a Traffico
Limitato (ZTL; Limited Traffic Zone) applies in the historic centre, but there are plenty of paid car
parks (€1.15 per hour, €10 per day) just outside the walls.
POP 22,487
Rooms with a view are the rule rather than the exception in this spectacularly sited hilltop
town. In the late 14th century Fra' Angelico lived and worked here, and fellow artists
Luca Signorelli and Pietro da Cortona were both born within the walls - all three are rep-
resented in the Museo Diocesano's small but sensational collection. More recently, large
chunks of Under the Tuscan Sun, the soap-in-the-sun film of the topic by Frances Mayes,
were shot here.
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