Rocca Maggiore (Major Fortress), Assisi

Rocca Maggiore (Major Fortress), Assisi (must see)

How old is Major Fortress? Tradition holds that the top of the hill was once the site of an acropolis, but it was destroyed by the Gothic King Totila in 545. The first reliable date available is 1174, when it was rebuilt by the Swabians as a feudal fortification. Frederick of Swabia resided there as a youth.

In 1198 the castle was destroyed in a popular uprising to keep it from coming under the control of the papal governor.

The fortress was rebuilt in 1356 by Cardinal Egido Albornoz who was busily involved in subjugating the major cities of the peninsula. The fortress was frequently a vital element in military campaigns of one sort or another. Towers and bastions were often renovated and improved.

After albornoz the Rocca was renovated by Biordo Michelotti in 1398, by Piccinino in 1458, by Pius II in 1460, by Sisto IV in 1478, and by Paolo III in 1535.

It was Jacabo Piccinino who built the polygonal northwest tower. It was then finished by Pope Pius II who connected the tower by a corridor to the fortress walls. The castle complex is made with strengthened walls from the pink stones of Mount Subasio. The overall shape is trapezoidal with towers on each corner, enclosing the keep.

The inside of the fortress yields access to the entrance of a round bastion. The bastion was commissioned in 1535 by Pope Paul III. There is a fenced-in yard before the residential rooms of the castle accessible by a spiral staircase. The Rocca Maggiore is joined by its 14th century walls with the Fortress Minor, the keep of St. anthony.

The fortress's towers offer the broadest and evocative views of Umbrian valleys and Assisi nestling at the foot of the hill.

Why you should visit
It is worth it for the spectacular view alone.

Some climbing is involved. Wear comfortable shoes and carry water.

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 iTunes App Store or Google Play. 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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Rocca Maggiore (Major Fortress) on Map

Sight Name: Rocca Maggiore (Major Fortress)
Sight Location: Assisi, Italy (See walking tours in Assisi)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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