Assisi. Something about the city.
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Assisi is a Town and comune of Italy in province of Perugia, in the Umbria region and on the western flank of Monte Subasio. It was the birthplace of St.Francis, who funded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare, the funder of the Poor Clares. Assisi was influenced by nearby Etruscan settlements.
The entrance to the Lower Basilica is in Piazza Inferiore. It was decorated by the greatest painters of the 13th and 14th centuries: Cimabue, Giotto, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini.
The Basilica complex is composed of two churches built one above the other, the lower one dating from 1228-1230 and the upper one from 1230-1253 and a crypt dug in 1818 which houses the Saint’s tomb.
The basilica of St. Clare, in Italian Gothic style, was built according to disign by the architect Filippo da Campello, in the years from 1255-1265. To the left of the facade were added, for the necessary stability three flying buttresses, which don’t in the least disturb the aesthetic balance of the facade; indeed they increase it. In the basilica there is the crucifix that speak to St. Francis, the relics and the body of St. Clare
At the summit of the hill that rises above Assisi, stands the “Rocca Maggiore”, at 505 metres above sea-level. It is a medieval fortress of imposing bulk, bristling with towers and bastions, with mansards and passages. By reason of its structure, so varied, and the movement of the architectural mass, it is to be considered among the most beautiful and important defense works of the Middle Ages.
It is an oasis of quiet peace, of almost mystical recollection. Here Francis composed the “Canticle of the Creatures”; here had its beginning, with the words of Christ, the Franciscan movement. The Church is placedbetween Assisi and the plain. It is encircle by the olive groves and the cypresses. It was the first refugefor the order of the “Clarisse”. At the inside there is a church with a nave.
This is today an industrial town of about 4.000 inhabitants, spread around its large Basilica, the construction of which began in 1569, on the disigns of the Perugian architect Galeazzo Alessi. The inside, with three naves, open with a lot of chapels. In the chapel of the “Transito”, on 3 october 1225 dead St. Francesco.
It was constructed in the first century A.D., and dedicated to the goddess Minerva by the brothers Tiro and Cesio Prisco. It is an elegant temple, in the Corinthian style, with six high columns sustaining the entablature and the pediment. The steps leading to the vestibule, fitted into the plinths of the columns are an unusual feature.
As we learn from an engraved stone, in beautiful Gothic characters ,set into the wall at the base of the nave,on the right, the construction of the Cathedral was begun in the year 1140. Rainiero being the Prior and the architect being Giovanni di Gubbio. The facade is divide in three parts (the three inside naves. It is an example of the Romanesque art.
Issuing from the Porta Cappuccini one ascends to the Hermitage of the Prisons, located in a gorge between Mount Subasio and Mount St. Rufino at 800 metres above sea-level. It is an hour’s walk, or fifteen minutes by car. It is a solitary place, in the wood. Near it there is a boulevard of holm-oak. Here St. Francis spent his hermit’slife.
The building of the Chapel goes back to the fourth century: it is known that it passed into the hands of the Benedictines in the Sixth century. It is a modest building of a rectangular shape, with a small apse. The Gothic vault, similar to that of St. Damiano, is the result of restoration made by Saint Francis himself. The “Porziuncola” is place in the central nave of the Basilica of Mary of the Angels.