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Assisi Hotels & Things Not to Miss


Feb 26th, 2016, 11:51 AM
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Assisi Hotels & Things Not to Miss

I will be in Assisi In May and would like hotel recommendations - could also be a B&B or small family owned place. I will have a car and am traveling around Umbria. Looking for suggestions for towns, areas, sites not to miss. I am willing to drive 2 hrs max from Assisi.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 12:17 PM
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Todi is a famous small town as it is a center for many wealthy foreigners who have bought houses in the nearby countryside - an iconic hill town all fancied up and great!

Perugia is a large hill town not far from Assisi with the usual vast central plazza facing a huge church and a large university that makes a nice walk thru and livens up the town.

Cortona another sweet hill town is a short drive or bus or train ride from Assisi.

Just outside of Assisi check out Saint Francis' rural retreat where he allegedly talked to the birds.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 12:24 PM
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Assisi absolutely did nothing for me. I vastly prefer Perugia, Chiusi, and small towns like Paciano and Panicale and the small spa towns up in the mountains. YMMV.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 12:33 PM
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Well I'd say if not into St Francis or St Clare I also would prefer other towns that do not revolve around a religious sight drawing bus loads of faithful here - not to say it did nothing for me but not nearly as much as other hill towns - like Gubbio, probably within your two-hour range.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 02:01 PM
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In the Duomo in Assisi (the second largest church in Christendom I believe) there is a sung liturgy on Sunday night. Worth going.

The Dal Moro Gallery hotel is fun, slightly edgy decor, very modern.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 04:20 PM
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I often wonder if new posters really care about the inane opinions of Fodorites about some of the world's greatest art treasures and religious pilgrimage sights. Maybe people could persuade the Fodor's editors to put a sticky thread of these many worthless observations, based on half a day here or there. Or can't you just offer to e-mail them to people like Stu Dudley? ("here's my piddly private reactions to world heritage sites -- for free!")

Anyway, to try to help out the OP:

You really do not need to drive 2 hours to find an astonishing amount of cultural treasure and natural beauty in Umbria if you are basing in or around Assisi. It is good you are spending nights there, because you will probably have a better chance of seeing the art works earlier in the morning with fewer people around.

This is a very good website for learning about the nearby highlights. Umbria was a center of tremendous importance to the development of Renaissance church art, so the neighboring towns and the museum in Perugia have a lot to offer. If you are going to Perugia in car, try to include a stop by the Etruscan tomb at the edge of town.

Can't make personal recommendations where to stay in or near Assisi, but for all of Umbria, this is an excellent resource for trip planning:

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Feb 26th, 2016, 04:43 PM
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From the UNESCO document designating Assisi a World Heritage site:

"Its medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (i): Assisi represents an ensemble of masterpieces of human creative genius, such as the Basilica of San Francesco, which have made it a fundamental reference for art history in Europe and in the world.

Criterion (ii): The interchange of artistic and spiritual message of the Franciscan Order has significantly contributed to developments in art and architecture in the world.

Criterion (iii): Assisi represents a unique example of continuity of a city-sanctuary within its environmental setting from its Umbrian-Roman and medieval origins to the present, represented in the cultural landscape, the religious ensembles, systems of communication, and traditional land-use.

Criterion (iv): The Basilica of San Francesco is an outstanding example of a type of architectural ensemble that has significantly influenced the development of art and architecture.

Criterion (vi): Being the birthplace of the Franciscan Order, Assisi has from the Middle Ages been closely associated with the cult and diffusion of the Franciscan movement in the world, focusing on the universal message of peace and tolerance even to other religions or beliefs.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 04:51 PM
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And thank you Sandra/zeppole for contributing your own piddly useless inane and worthless observations. Unfortunately these too will be included in your sticky thread.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 10:35 PM
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"In the Duomo in Assisi (the second largest church in Christendom I believe) "

Some confusion here.

The Duomo in Assisi - the town's externally pretty 12th century cathedral of normal Italian cathedral size at the SE end of Assisi's central pedestrian zone - is a completely different building from the 13th century, immense, Basilica of St Francis a mile NW of the cathedral.

The Duomo's interior is sadly recent, though the church has an impressive history: St Francis was baptised there - as was St Clare a few years later, and the Holy Roman (ie German) Emperor Frederick II. Like any significant Catholic church, it has frequent Masses, especially on Sunday. But none of them are of any tourist interest, except to Catholics wanting to fulfill their weekly obligations.

The Basilica of St Francis is not just the burial place of one of Christianity's most influential figures, and Italy's major pilgrimage site: the Giotto frescoes covering its walls are stunning in themselves - and are generally regarded by most art historians as the first significant achievement of the Renaissance, from which practically all of modern civilisation can seriously be claimed to stem.

It's remarkable too for the "no dogs allowed" sign on its doors: a bizarre way of reminding us that the whole immense edifice is supposed to commemorate a man famous for his regard for non-human animals (though some Italian historians now claim stories about his preaching to them are a late invention).

Conventional tourist visits to the Basilica are tolerated during Masses (which are frequent on Sundays), though access to parts of its two levels is generally controlled during their celebration. Solemn Vespers (which I imagine is the "liturgy" to which a previous poster referred) are in the lower level at 1800 on Sundays. Though not as enjoyable an event as Anglicanism's Evensong (and in Italy, usually in a mixture of Italian and Latin), Vespers can represent a way of hearing liturgical music well sung - though liturgical singing is not something Italians do at all well.

Unusually for Italy, a lot of the pretty small towns around Assisi can be accessed on foot from Assisi: the area has something resembling a proper system of cross-country footpaths. The walks across or round Monte Subasio to Spello (8-12 miles, depending on the route) can involve some steep uphills, but can also take you past the Eremo delle Carceri hermitage, (the "Saint Francis' rural retreat where he allegedly talked to the birds" our resident philistine bigot dismisses). The Pinturicchio frescoes in Spello's Santa Maria Maggiore are glorious.

Other similar nearby towns are Bevagna, Montefalco, Trevi, Foligno and Spoleto. Several of these are linked by the train from Assisi's station, down the hill from Assisi town itself.

It's a little known fact that the city of Los Angeles takes its name from the town of Santa Maria degli Angeli which houses Assisi railway station.
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Feb 27th, 2016, 05:11 AM
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We enjoyed our day trip to Assisi, but I don't think it makes for the most convenient base for touring Umbria as it is a bit off from the main road. We chose Spello or that purpose. That said, I think any number of towns are worthy to visit. We went to Montefalco, Bevagna, Deruta (for the pottery), Orvieto and Norcia (and surrounding area including the Piano Grande). I really think The Piano Grande is a must see if you enjoy natural beauty.

We are headed back and will visit the area around Lago Trasimeno, as well as Gubbio and Perugia. Which towns will appeal to you the most is hard to say. I liked each for different reasons. We loved the area as a whole. In May, the countryside is bright green; it's quite pretty from any number of vistas. One highlight was a wine tour and lunch with Gusto tours. Not cheap, but a really lovely way to learn about the area.

Be advised that Assisi hosts the Calendimaggio festival May 5-8. If your visit coincides be advised that you will need tickets, which can be hard to come by. The town will be crowded and hotel rates will be higher.
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Feb 27th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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I just Looked up my old trip report to find the name of my Assisi hotel. It was Hotel Porto Nuova and just outside the city wall. Nothing fancy, family run, and their own small free parking courtyard. Breakfast was very good. Room was clean and quiet. Check recent reviews because my trip was long ago.

They let me leave my car while I continued my sightseeing the next morning. Access with a car was very easy in and out since it was just outside the wall.
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