Visit Assisi on foot: recommendations and pathways to take in Assisi
The best way to visit Assisi is definitely on foot. This is why we want to give you precious advice about what to see and which routes to follow through the city of Saint Francis.
This ancient city is the most important spiritual centre of Umbria, a beautiful, peaceful place, which is well worth visiting on foot. In fact, the city is not very big and only by walking through its small streets can you fully enjoy the spirituality that pervades the city of Saint Francis.
But what mustn’t you miss at Assisi during you visit on foot?
Visiting the historical city centre on foot, especially if the weather is nice, is an amazing experience, which will certainly leave you speechless.
It is wonderful to get lost among the small streets of Assisi, but make sure you visit all the main places, without leaving even one of them out.
The Basilica di San Francesco (Basilica of Saint Francis) is, without a doubt, one of the places most loved by tourists from all over the world. Made up of two churches built on top of each other and a crypt that contains the tomb of the Saint, it houses paintings and frescoes by many artists, among which Giotto and Cimabue.
The gothic Basilica di Santa Chiara (Basilica of Saint Clare), contains the bones of the Saint and is located at the opposite side of the city to the Basilica di San Francesco, about a kilometre away.
The impressive Cattedrale di San Rufino (Cathedral of Saint Rufus), known also as the Duomo di Assisi, is at approx. 400 metres from the Basilica di Santa Chiara. It appears that it was built on the remains of the Roman Forum of Asisium.
At approx. 6 kilometres from the city, you can admire the wonderful Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels), which is located in the district of Assisi with the same name. The basilica, which was built between 1565 and 1685, preserves the Porziuncola, where Saint Francis established the order of Friars Minor (source: Visit Assisi). When you have reached Santa Maria degli Angeli by car or public transport, you can take a walk in the large square in front of the basilica and stop for a rest in the shade of the trees in the park.
These are only the most important religious sites of the city, but there are also other churches of great beauty to visit not far away, like the Chiesa di Santo Stefano, Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Rose and Chiesa Nuova (Church of Saint Steven, Church of Saint Mary of the Roses and the New Church); the latter is said to have been built on the remains of the house where Saint Francis was born.
Assisi is not only churches and spirituality, as shown by the countless monuments found throughout the city.
Walking through the historic centre you can admire the nerve centre of the city. It is made up from Piazza del Comune (Main Municipal Square), which is overlooked by Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (Palace of the People’s Captain), the Torre civica (Municipal Tower) and Palazzo dei Priori (Priors’ Palace), which date back to the Middle Ages, and Tempio di Minerva (Minerva Temple), which is of Roman origin.
Other Roman monuments in the historical centre and surrounding area, which can therefore be reached on foot, are the anfiteatro (amphitheatre) in the Porta Perlici area and the Domus del Lararium and Domus Sesto Properzio,which can be visited only with advanced booking (source: Visit Assisi).
If you have a passion for the Middle Ages, you can visit the Rocca Maggiore (Large Fortress)(link all’articolo) and the Rocca minore (Small Fortress), which can be reached on foot from Via della Rocca. From this height you can enjoy an amazing view over the valley by day and also by night.
If you love walking or trekking, you cannot miss a visit to the Eremo delle Carceri (The Hermitage). This isolated place is situated at 800 metres above sea level and can be reached on foot following Via Eremo delle Carceri. It lies approx. 4 kilometres from Assisi.
It was here that Saint Francis came to pray; a place of peace surrounded by a forest of secular holm-oaks.
From the cloister of the Friars, it is possible to enter the Convento di San Bernardino (St. Bernard’s Convent), and then continue into the Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri and finally reach the cave of Saint Francis; a place of prayer and meditation for the saint (source: Discover Assisi).
When you have recovered from the beautiful but tiring visit to the Hermitage, you can admire the wonderful Bosco di San Francesco (Saint Francis Woodland); the entrance is at the foot of the Basilica di San Francesco.
Take a walk amongst trees, fields and olive groves to the Chiesa di Santa Croce (Holy Cross Church) and to the natural work of art created by Michelangelo Pistoletto. It is a pathway to follow alone or with family in order to enjoy the breath-taking landscape in complete tranquillity.
In June and July when the lavender has flowered (but also in the other months of the year), you can take a walk in the beautiful lavandeto di Assisi. It is a unique place situated at the foot of Mount Subasio in a truly evocative setting, where you can find many types of lavender along with aromatic plants and ornamental sage plants.
WHICH PATHWAY TO CHOOSE?
As you will have understood, visiting Assisi on foot is the best way to experience and get to know the city, so all you have to do is choose which pathway to take in order to admire the wonders of the city of Saint Francis.
But why choose? If you are undecided, take a few days and follow all the pathways and admire the spiritual places, the historical monuments and nature, which contribute to making Assisi the beautiful gem that it is.