The Cathedral of San Rufino, known also as the Duomo of Assisi, is the main Catholic church in Assisi, located in the homonymous square. The Cathedral was built on a terrace that probably was the place of the ancient Roman forum of the city.
The body of San Rufino was probably brought to Assisi in the 8th century and a first church was built on this place around the same time.
Ugone, Bishop of Assisi from 1028, moved the episcopal seat from the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Church of San Rufino, and made the latter a Cathedral in 1036.
In 1134, it was decided to demolish the Ugonian Basilica and to build a new and more imposing cathedral. The work for the new church, on a project by Giovanni da Gubbio, was started in 1140, but the construction lasted for several decades.
In 1228, Pope Gregory IX consecrated the high altar and, in 1253, the whole church was consecrated by Innocent IV. In 1571, the interior of the cathedral was renovated according to a project by Galeazzo Alessi.
The facade of the Cathedral is one of the most significant works of the Romanesque Umbrian style, very similar to the facade of the Cathedral of Spoleto.
The lower part dates back to the 12th century, with three portals flanked by lions and griffins. The central portal, in particular, has a rich ornamentation, being decorated with reliefs of branches, allegorical figures and monstrous animals.
The median area of the facade, dated back to the end of the 13th century, is occupied by the three rose windows. To the left of the facade, stands the majestic Romanesque bell tower with double mullioned windows, dating back to the 11th century.
The interior of the basilica is divided into three naves, separated by pillars. The current appearance dates back to the renovation of 1571 by Galeazzo Alessi.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest bus station is just a few steps away from the Cathedral, in Via San Gabriele Dell’Addolorata, on the bus line B. If you need precise directions to the Cathedral, from any point in the city, use the map below.