In the central square of Assisi, there is an old roman temple from the first century of our era, Temple of Minerva, that was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and peace from the pagan age. Today, the temple houses the church called Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
Around the years 28-25 BC, in the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum in Assisi is structured, various temples rise and the city wall is completed. Abouth then, the Temple of Minerva is built.
When the pagan cult ceased, the Temple of Minerva remained abandoned and silent for over a century, until the second half of the 5th century, when the Benedictine monks restored the building and used it.
With an act of May 24, 1212, the Benedictines granted for rent, for a hundred years, all the rooms of the Temple to the city of Assisi.
In 1539, Pope Paul III, visiting Assisi, ordered that the Temple of Minerva to be restored and dedicated to Saint Mary. The Temple takes the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
In 1613, the Bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, also having the consent of the city council, donates the Temple to the Friars of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis to better guarantee the liturgical service.
In 1634, the friars undertook major renovations under the guidance of the architect Assisano Giacomo Giorgetti but, with the Napoleonic suppression from 1810, they were forced to abandon the Temple of Minerva, which passed to the secular clergy.
In 1918, the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, after a break of almost two hundred years, is entrusted again to the Friars of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The six beautiful Corinthian columns and the entire facade are still intact after about 2000 years. The side walls of the building are also well preserved, but are only visible from the outside.
Inside the church, there are beautiful paintings by Francesco Appiani, A. M. Garbi, Martino Knoller, G. Martelli and by many others.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Temple of Minerva can be found in the center of Assisi, in Piazza del Comune. For the exact directions, use the map below.