Experience mystical Assisi

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It is almost eight in the evening when we arrive in Assisi. The evening sky produces a beautiful background for this amazing historical and mystical town. The church bells ring and a sense of ease is settling in. We straight away know that this will become a trip to remember.

Assisi is the most famous town in Umbria and best known because of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. It became a pilgrimage site since the 13th century and many visitors come to see the breathtaking San Francesco basilica. Surrounded by the Umbrian hills and the Monte Subasio, Assisi is a beautiful town to wander around. In this town you see the monks stroll through the streets and the squares are filled with joy.  It is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On our first day we were at Piazza del Comune, the central square of Assisi. It was suddenly starting to attract a lot of people and it soon became clear why: In a corner there are three singing, guitar-playing nuns surrounded by a wide circle of waving, singing pilgrims. The nuns are not elderly ladies, but young girls in their twenties. And boy they know how to create a beautiful atmosphere. An older woman grabs my arms and without really wanting to, I stand rocking back and forth among the singing crowd, hallelujah Jesus!

Saint Francis

Do you know the age-old story of Saint Francis of Assisi? He was called 'Il Poverello', the 'little poor'. And that was exactly what he desired to be, Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226), one of the most famous and popular saints and missionaries known to the Catholic Church.

I always felt a deep connection with this saint. He lived his life in radical simplicity, in and with nature, silence, seclusion, total commitment to spiritual practice and had an uncompromising loyalty to the truth. He lived with what life gave him. His consistent advocacy of material poverty and spiritual wealth captured the imagination of many believers.

The San Francesco Church

The Basilica di San Francesco is without a doubt one of the most beautiful basilicas in Italy. This World Heritage site, houses the tomb of Francis and consists of two parts: a lower and an upper church. Two years after his death, construction began on both parts.


In 1997 an earthquake caused extensive damage. Fortunately, much could be restored. Because Francis is buried here, this church has grown into an important pilgrimage site.

Amphitheater

Through all kinds of small streets (like Via Fontebella and Via Pennacchi), where it is a lot less touristy than in the rest of Assisi, we come across an old Amphitheater. In the past, gladiator fights were held and this theater covered almost 7,000 square meters, today only ten percent of that remains. Instead of gladiator fights, discussions take place between old local residents, who criticize the events in their city from a plastic chair.

Basilica di Santa Chiara

This basilica is dedicated to Saint Clare of Assisi, one of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Santa Chiara was built between 1257 and 1265 and is the most important religious site in Assisi after the Basilica di San Francesco.

Piazza del Comune

The Piazza del Comune is the center of Assisi (where the nuns sang). You will find many important monuments of the city around the large square. First of all, the Tempio di Minerva with its columns. Like the Pantheon in Rome, this is a Roman temple that has been preserved because a church was built behind it in later times: the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Also take a look at the Fontana dei Tre Leoni (the fountain of the three lions) and the 14th century Palazzo del Popolo, the town hall, which is still in use.

Eating in Assisi

In Assisi you will find many restaurants near the busy Piazza del Comune. Here are our favorites:

La Locanda del Cardinale
This is a great place with amazing food. The restaurant is based on an ancient Roman Villa.and sitting in a room with so much history is incredible.

Le Terrazze di Properzio
The view (see below) is spectacular and the food is super delicious.


It is an excellent location for a romantic dinner.

Taverna dei Consoli
Another Gem in Assisi. The owner treats you as a friend and the food was amazing. We still look back with great joy when we think about this restaurant.

La piazzetta delle erbe
What a lovely restaurant. We recommend theblack gnocchi with truffle and green asparagus. The prices are very reasonable.

Piadina Biologica
Our organic heart jumped of joy when we found this place. Them make tasty organic wraps with an average price of 5.50 euros. They also have a lot of vegetarian and vegan option

Where to stay

You have a lot of choice in Assisi. Depending on your budget we will give a few suggestions. If you are looking for a mid range hotel we recommend the Hotel Il Palazzo. The property has a perfect location and everything close within 10 minutes reach. The room was spacious are decorated with taste.

For the ones who have a bit more budget and who like to spoil themselves we recommend the Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum. The rooms are contemporary and upscale in all aspects. The staff is super friendly and we loved they had an amazing Spa.

Privilege Suite with Spa Access in the Nun Assisi relais - Picture by: Booking

For the budget traveler we found that Hotel Mom Assisi was one of the best budget options. It is situated directly across from the train and bus station, and yet quiet at night for a restful sleep. Breakfast costs only 5 euro per person and is well worth the money.

Yoga near Assisi

Everywhere we go we try to do at least one yoga class. We found YogAssisi just a 10 kilometers from Assisi. They have a beautiful studio and during summer they also practice in the park, in the shade of the trees. We had a great resonance with this school and we highly recommend to visit them for a class.

Best time to visit Assisi

The best months to visit Assisi are May, June, September and October. You are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). April and November are also still possible but do have colder nights and days. Click here for more climate information in Assisi.

Written by our reporter and co-founder Jan:

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This article was last updated on May 27, 2021.