Published On: Tue, May 18th, 2021

Assisi travel guide

Find some of the best places to stay, visit or eat while staying around Assisi, with Jane Keightley’s guide to the highlights of the area…

Photos by Jane Keightley unless otherwise stated.

Assisi

What to see and do

The Basilica di San Francesco

Piazza San Francesco 2, 06081 Assisi 

One of Italy’s architectural and artistic masterpieces, with spectacular artworks by Giotto. The 13th-century basilica is made up of two churches and is the burial place of St Francis. The saint’s relics were hidden in the crypt for safekeeping and only rediscovered in 1818.

Assisi

Piazza del Comune

Piazza Del Comune, 06081 Assisi

The main square of Assisi is thought to have been built over the Roman Forum. It is dominated by the Tempio di Minerva, behind which is a Baroque church where more ruins were found during renovations.

 

The Duomo

Piazza San Rufino 3, 06081 Assisi 

The Duomo di San Rufino (Assisi Cathedral) is dedicated to a 3rd-century martyr. The building has a typical three-tiered Umbrian façade with ornate friezes and sculptures. The main point of interest inside is the font used to baptise St Francis and St Clare.

The Basilica of Santa Chiara

Piazza Santa Chiara 1, 06081 Assisi

The burial place of St Clare, St Francis’s devoted follower, was begun in 1257 and consecrated in 1265, twelve years after her death. It has a beautiful pink and white façade and inside you can see the Byzantine crucifix that originally hung in San Damiano church outside town.

The Rocca Maggiore

Via della Rocca, 06081 Assisi

The castle that dominates Assisi’s skyline was built in the 12th century, but most of the current structure dates from the mid-14th century, when Cardinal Albornoz had it rebuilt. There are breathtaking views from the top.

Assisi

Image © Getty Images 

San Damiano

Via San Damiano 85, 06081 Assisi

San Damiano, a 15-minute walk outside the town walls, is the site of St Francis’s conversion in 1205 and where he composed the Canticle of the Creatures. A small and beautiful building, it housed the Order of St Clare, also known as the Damianites, after the church.

Santa Maria degli Angeli                                           

Piazza Porziuncola 1 06081 Santa Maria degli Angeli

This basilica in the valley below Assisi houses the Porziuncola, the tiny chapel where St Francis lived and the Cappella del Transito where he died. It’s amazing to see this previously freestanding little building at the centre of a far larger one.

Where to stay

Hotel Priori

Corso Giuseppe Mazzini 15, 06081 Assisi 

Lovely, comfortable rooms in a 16th-century palazzo just off the main piazza. €63 per night.

Hotel Ideale

Piazza Giacomo Matteotti 1, 06081 Assisi 

Friendly, family-run hotel on the outskirts of Assisi with plenty of parking. Beautiful views from the garden. €65 per night.

Assisi

Image by Sarah Lane

Hotel Giotto

Via Fontebella 41, 06081 Assisi 

Not far from the Basilica, this grand old hotel has a terrace with beautiful views and a spa. €105 per night.

Hotel Sorella Luna

Via Frate Elia 3, 06081 Assisi 

Set in a 14th-century building not far from the Basilica, this hotel is friendly and welcoming and has a selection of art on its walls. €50 per night.

Hotel Palotta

Via San Rufino 6, 06081 Assisi 

A relaxed, family-run hotel in the centre of town. Free coffee and cake on offer
all afternoon. €65 per night.

Nun Assisi Relais and Spa Museum

Via Eremo delle Carceri, 1a, 06081 Assisi 

Situated on the outskirts of Assisi, this renovated nunnery offers luxury accommodation and a spa set amongst Roman walls. €292 per night.

Where to eat

Ristorante Bar San Francesco 

Via San Francesco 52, 06081 Assisi

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food here as it is right next to the Basilica and I was expecting normal tourist fare. It was so good I returned twice. The mushroom risotto with truffle was really quite wonderful.

Assisi

Taverna dei Consoli

Vicolo della Fortezza 1, 06081 Assisi 

A very friendly, atmospheric restaurant with very good food. I enjoyed some tasty gnocchi with Gorgonzola.

 

Trattoria Pallotta

Vicolo della Volta Pinta 3, 06081 Assisi 

Part of the Hotel Pallotta, near the Temple of Minerva, just off the main piazza, they serve lovely local dishes here such as strangozzi with mushroom sauce, and rabbit cacciatore.

Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba

Via San Gabriele Dell’Addolorata 15 06081 Assisi 

Well worth a visit for dishes like pork with figs and a chocolate dessert to die for. Pleasant outdoor area to sit and dine.

Don’t miss!

The Calendimaggio

For a few days in early May, Assisi turns the clock back several hundred years for the medieval Calendimaggio Festival. Rivalry between the upper and lower parts of town is battled out through music, plays and costumes. The festival of St Francis (3-4 October) also features music, dance and religious ceremonies.

Assisi

The centro Storico

Assisi’s well-preserved medieval centre is a delight to stroll around. The pinkish stone in the buildings is from nearby Monte Subasio. One of the most atmospheric parts is towards Porta Perlici, beyond the cathedral, but the whole historical centre is a maze of intriguing alleys. Wrought-iron decorations and colourful plants abound.

Mount Subasio

Surround yourself by unspoilt wilderness where wild orchids grow, explore on foot and take in the spectacular views of this historic landscape. 

Getting there

By plane:

  • The nearest airport is Perugia, just 10 minutes’ drive from Assisi. The nearest international airport is Rome Fiumicino.

By train:

  • The station is located 5km from the town, but after Perugia it is easy to connect to other cities.

By car:

  • Parking is not permitted in central Assisi and it is best to park on the outskirts in underground car parks such as the one in Piazza Matteotti. I parked in the car park at Porta Mojano, where you can get up to the town with your luggage in a lift and on escalators. It comes out near the Basilica di Santa Chiara and was reasonably central.

Assisi

Find out more info about the area in our Assisi archive.

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