Rocca Maggiore is a majestic, imposing fortress dating back to the 14th century, which dominates the town of Assisi from above, offering magnificent views and charming panoramas of the surrounding valley below, from Perugia, in the north, to Spoleto, in the south.
The original fortress was built, perhaps, before the year 1000, during the time of the barbaric invasions, but the first documented information about Rocca Maggiore dates back to 1174, when Assisi was conquered by the imperial troops led by Christian of Mainz, chancellor of Germany during the reign of emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.
In 1198, Rocca Maggiore was destroyed by a riot, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the papal governor of Pope Innocent III.
The fortress was rebuilt in 1356 at the behest of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, as a lookout, to consolidate the fortifications of the Papal State.
In 1360, the same Cardinal Albornoz commissioned the construction of Rocca Minore, in order to consolidate the part of the fortification towards the mountain, and connected the two fortresses through a massive wall structure.
In the next centuries, the fortress was enlarged and modified by various occupants – by Biordo Michelotti, lord of Perugia, between 1395 and 1398, by Jacopo Piccinino, lord of Assisi, in 1458, by Pope Pius II in 1460, by Sixtus IV in 1478, and by Paul III in 1535, reaching its current appearance.
From the 17th century, Rocca Maggiore was abandoned, but it remained intact until the present day.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rocca Maggiore is located about 3.8 kilometers away from the Assisi railway station. From the railway station, you can take the bus Line C to Piazza Giovanni Paolo II, located on the edge of the historical center of the town. The closest bus stop is in Piazza del Comune, located about 650 meters away from the fortress, on the bus Line A.
In Assisi, due to its elevated position, you can see the fortress from almost any point. It’s not hard to find Rocca Maggiore with the eyes, but it may be a little hard to… climb up to it.
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