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Assisi is situated on the slopes of Mount Subasio, from where it dominates the plain crossed by Topino and Chiascio rivers, tributaries of the Tiber. This town, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare, has become famous throughout the world as the centre of the Franciscan message of universal peace and brotherhood. An Etruscan settlement at first, then a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Assisi became part of the State of the Church, under whose rule it remained until the birth of the Italian State. The Basilica of St. Francis and the other Franciscan sites, the oldest part of the urban structure and almost all the territory of Assisi have been declared World Heritage by Unesco in 2000. The Basilica of St. Francis, one of the cornerstones for the spread of Gothic in Italy, keeps inside the body of the Saint, who was considered one of the most important figures in the history of Christianity just two years after his death. Architects, decorators and painters among the best of the period were called to complete the Basilica, such as Simone Martini, Cimabue and Giotto, who painted his splendid frescoes with scenes from the life of St. Francis in the Upper Church. Other places linked with the life of St. Francis, which are worth being visited, are the “Eremo delle Carceri” (immersed in a dense wood on the slopes of Mount Subasio), the Convent of San Damiano, the imposing Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (built between 1569 and 1679 to protect the “Porziuncola”, a small church that welcomed the first community of Franciscans) and the Cappella del Transito, where St. Francis died on 4 October 1226.

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