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On any vacation to Umbria, Assisi is a "MUST see"! This quaint Italian village is a major Italian tourist destination for countless reasons. The remarkable Italian local art and crafts of the Umbrian region are reason enough to visit but there is much more.
The typical, small and winding streets of the main town center, showcase an not only delightful products made by local Italian craftsman but quaint cafes and "pasticceria" (bakeries) offer irresistable Italian pastries and other Italian food specialties to tempt the palate.
St Francis of Assisi was born right here and the original frescos of famous Italian artists such as Cimebue and Giotto can be found in the Basilica of St. Francis. In addition, an interesting and diverse contempory Italian artist community, along with Renaissance architecture and a mystic charm, attracts droves of visitors to this beautiful district of Umbria.
The quintessential "Italian hilltown", Assisi perches peacefully among the foothills of Mt. Subasio. The bright, pinkish stone quarried here give it a uniquely warm and effloresced character, further enhanced by the flower bedecked balconies which adorn its ancient corridors.
As mentioned earlier, Assisi owes much of its prestige to it's affiliation with St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Italy, born here in 1182. Renouncing his father's wealth and choosing, instead, a life of poverty and chastity, St. Francis of Assisi founded the Order known as the "Frati Minori" which attracted a huge following in Europe. His influence, along with that of St. Clare, one of his diciples, transformed the prospects of the city and it's reflection on humanity.
Interestingly, St. Francis, a notable ascetic, in turn inspired the construction of the spectacular Basilica dedicated in his honor. Characterizing the rural Umbrian landscape since remote times, it now stands as a main tourist draw, both for religious and artistic devotees
Almost as vast an influence as St. Francis was on the the religious community, Giotto proved to be in artistic circles. The remarkable frescos of this artist, as well as those by his teacher Cimabue, can be admired on the interior walls of the Basilica.
Assisi supports a diverse array of contemporary Italian artists whose works can be viewed on public display at any one of numerous galleries. Probably the most acclaimed, Norbert, made his name in the artisitic echelons by depicting monks involved in such unlikely activities as a game of soccer.
Undoubtedly, a visit to Assisi is certain to enrich your Italian travel experience and to have you longing for a return trip to Italy in the not too distant future!