Assisi Travel Guide

What to See and Do in Assisi, Birthplace of Saint Francis

assisi photo
••• Assisi. Frank Fleischmann/Getty Images

Assisi is a medieval hill town in central Italy's Umbria region, known for being the birthplace of Saint Francis. Thousands of people visit the Saint Francis Basilica each year and it's one of Italy's most visited churches. Other sites associated with Saint Francis are in and near the town, too.

Assisi Location

Assisi is in the central part of the Umbria region, 26 kilometers east of Perugia, the region's largest city, and about 180 kilometers north of Rome.

Where to Stay in Assisi

  • Nun Assisi Relais Spa Museum is a highly rated 5-star hotel in the historic center near the main square and cathedral.
  • Brigolante Guest Apartments has 3 apartments in the city center in a newly renovated palazzo and  for those with a car who would like to stay in a farmhouse in the countryside, they have 3 apartments in a restored 16th century farm house.
  • See our selection of Top Rated Assisi Hotels for more places to stay or go to Assisi Hotels on HIpmunk, where you can find the best rates for your dates.

Top Tourist Sights and Attractions in Assisi

For a guided tour and in-depth look at Assisi and Saint Francis, take the From Riches to Rags: the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi tour, offered by our affiliate Select Italy.

  • Assisi's most popular attraction is the Basilica of Saint Francis, or San Francesco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monumental complex dedicated to Saint Francis dates from the 13th century. Inside are the crypt of Saint Francis, beautiful frescoes, and art works.
  • Church of Saint Clare, or Santa Chiara, is dedicated to the friend and follower of Saint Francis and contains her tomb. The church has a pink and white facade and beautiful rose window. It houses the San Damiano Crucifix (in the Oratorio del Crocifisso), which spoke to Francis in 1206.
  • San Rufino Cathedral, or duomo, has a 12th century Romanesque facade and inside is the baptismal font where Saints Francis and Claire were baptized.
  • Two Castles perch at the top of the town. The Rocca Maggiore, the larger castle, was originally built in 1367 and enlarged several times. The smaller castle is only partially restored but its three towers are open to the public.
  • A Roman Amphitheater dates from the first century and now houses a garden. Around it are medieval houses.
  • Piazza del Commune, the town's main square, houses a fountain, the 13th century Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and adjoining tower, and the Palazzo dei Priori. The Temple of Minerva faces the square.
  • Our Assisi Picture Gallery has photos of Saint Francis Basilica and the town. See this Assisi map for an overview.

Saint Francis Sites Near Assisi

In addition to the sites in the historic center, several spiritual sites associated with Saint Francis are outside town, either on the slopes of Mount Subasio above the town or in the valley below. See Visiting Saint Francis Sites.

Shopping in Assisi

Many souvenir stands selling religious items and other nick knacks line the main streets but there are also good specialty shops and artisan boutiques where you can find unique keepsakes or gifts.

Assisi Transportation

The train station is 3 kilometers below town. Connecting buses run between Assisi and the station.

It's about 2 hours by train from Rome, 2.5 hours from Florence,  and 20 minutes from Perugia. Buses also connect the town with Perugia and other places in Umbria.

If you want to explore more of Umbria, car rentals are available for pick up in Orvieto through Auto Europe. The historic center, centro storico, is off limits to vehicles except by special permit so if you're arriving by car, park in one of the lots outside the town walls.

More: Top Places to Go in Umbria | Saint Francis Sites in Italy