Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Every year, countless people travel to the cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Naples, or enjoy smaller towns along the Amalfi Coast or in Cinque Terre. These places are all worth a visit. However, there are plenty of other locations in Italy to visit that are just as beautiful but remain less known. One of those places is Assisi, the legendary home and resting place of Saint Francis.

Beautiful Umbria

Assisi is located on Mount Subasio in the beautiful region of Umbria. Within Assisi there are many excellent vantage points where you can look out upon the Umbrian valley and marvel at how gorgeous Italy can be.

If you want a real, panoramic view of the entire area around you, I would suggest taking a short hike up to the castle Rocca Maggiore. Once the home of Assisi’s lords and a place of defence against invaders, the castle now serves as an excellent place to watch the sunset or simply marvel at the beauty of the countryside.

The monastery

About an hour’s walk from Assisi you can reach the old monastery where Saint Francis used to pray and meditate, the Eremo delle Carceri. The monastery is open to visitors, but you are expected to remain silent and refrain from taking any photos or videos. This is for the best, as the sense of quiet solitude and contemplation at the monastery is surreal and should be experienced.

It is almost as if the woods themselves are silent, with even the normal sounds of nature subdued. Even those who are not religious can feel a peaceful, calming energy here. A visit up to the monastery should not be missed.

The town itself

Assisi itself is one of the most picturesque and serene places you’ll find in Italy. The winding cobbled streets leading through tunnels or up mountainsides will fill you with a sense of wonder and excitement, urging you to explore every nook and cranny.

Having a glass of Umbrian wine as you watch the sunset from a terrace overlooking farmlands is an experience one should not miss.

If you are religious, a history buff, or merely wish to see gorgeous architecture, the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is a must-visit. Built after the holy man’s death, the basilica stands at the far end of town and holds the tomb of Saint Francis.

Pilgrims from all across the world make their way to this church to see the tomb with their own eyes. The basilica is well guarded and you cannot enter if you do not cover your shoulders or aren’t wearing long enough pants, so do be warned.

Have you been to Assisi? If so, let us know how you liked it. And if you're looking for a similarly beautiful location in a nearby country, why not try Annecy?