Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi (Assisi Cathedral), Assisi

Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi (Assisi Cathedral), Assisi (must see)

As you step out from the narrow streets east of the Town Hall Square, the Cathedral, or "Duomo", presents itself with its characteristic three-tiered Umbrian facade. Tradition has it that the first church on this site was built around 412 to house the remains of Saint Rufinus, Assisi's first ever bishop, martyred about 170 years earlier. Another structure was erected around 1029, with the crypt and current bell tower surviving from that period. Yet another iteration of the church, closest to the present-day one, was consecrated in 1253.

Its Romanesque portal is a masterpiece of carving, flanked by two red marble lions and adorned with lilies, foliage, faces, birds, winged crocodiles, and a pair of griffins. Look closely at the lunette above the door to spot the child being nursed, with its stern-looking parents. Adjacent to the portal stands a massive, sturdy bell tower, somehow harmonizing with the church's overall design.

Inside, the highlight is the baptismal font used for Saint Francis, Saint Clare, and possibly the future Emperor Frederick II. Positioned at the near end of the church on the right, it is surrounded by Romanesque statues of a lion and a winged ox. Across from it, at the beginning of the left aisle, a small door leads to an impressive Roman cistern. Recent research suggests that the cathedral square, rather than Town Hall Square ("Piazza del Comune"), may have been the location of the town's original Roman Forum.

Saint Rufinus's remains still rest in the crypt beneath the altar, which visitors can access along with a small museum.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Assisi. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi (Assisi Cathedral) on Map

Sight Name: Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi (Assisi Cathedral)
Sight Location: Assisi, Italy (See walking tours in Assisi)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Assisi, Italy

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Create Your Own Walk in Assisi

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