In the central square of Assisi, there is an ancient Roman temple from the first century of our era, the Temple of Minerva, which was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and peace from the pagan age. Today, the temple houses the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
Around the years 28-25 BC, during the time of emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum of Assisi was structured, various temples were built and the city wall was completed. About the same time, the Temple of Minerva was erected.
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 began to use it as a church.
With the document 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 structure was named Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
In 1613, the Bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, with the consent of the city council, donated the temple to the Friars of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, to better guarantee the liturgical service.
In 1634, the friars undertook major renovations under the guidance of the architect Giacomo Giorgetti, but with the Napoleonic suppression of 1810, they were forced to abandon the church, which passed to the secular clergy.
In 1918, the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, after a break of almost two hundred years, was entrusted again to the Friars of the Third Order Regular of Saint 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 is located in the central Piazza del Comune, about 3.2 kilometers away from the Assisi railway station. The closest bus stop is near the church, on the bus Line A.
Find a place to stay