Assisi

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Assisi

(äs-sē`zē), town (1991 pop. 24,626), Umbria, central Italy. A religious and tourist center, it stands on a hill in the Apennines with an expansive view of the plains below. Although well known in Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages, it owes its modern fame chiefly to St. FrancisFrancis, Saint,
or Saint Francis of Assisi
, 1182?–1226, founder of the Franciscans, one of the greatest Christian saints, b. Assisi, Umbria, Italy. Early Life
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 of Assisi, who was born there in 1182 and died there in 1226. Above his tomb is the basilica of St. Francis—two Gothic churches (both consecrated 1253) decorated with frescoes depicting the life of the saint and other scenes, executed by CimabueCimabue, Giovanni
, d. c.1302, Florentine painter, whose real name was Cenni di Pepo or Peppi. The works with which his name is associated constitute a transition in painting from the strictly formalized Byzantine style, hitherto prevalent in Italy, to the freer expression of
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, GiottoGiotto
(Giotto di Bondone) , c.1266–c.1337, Florentine painter and architect. He is noted not only for his own work, but for the lasting impact he had on the course of painting in Europe. Training

Giotto reputedly was born at Colle, near Florence.
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, MartiniMartini, Simone
, or Simone di Martino
, c.1283–1344, major Sienese painter. His art is admired for its Gothic spirituality combined with a vibrancy and a great elegance of line.
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, and others. The basilica was severely damaged in a 1997 earthquake but reopened in 1999 after partial restoration. The Franciscan convent nearby has a valuable library. Other landmarks in Assisi are the Cathedral of San Rufino (begun 1140), the Church of Santa Chiara (1257–65), and a 14th-century castle. In the plain below is the imposing late-Renaissance Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (1569–1679), built around the little chapel of Porziuncola, where St. Francis relinquished active leadership of his order. Also nearby are the Carceri Hermitage (15th cent.) and the Convent of San Damiano (begun 11th cent.).

Assisi

a town in central Italy, in Umbria: birthplace of St Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order here in 1208. Pop.: 25 304 (2001)