The Cathedral of San Rufino is the beautiful Cathedral of Assisi, located in the homonymous square. Although there is no documented evidence, the church is built on a terrace that probably was the site of the ancient Roman forum of Asisium.
The body of San Rufino (Saint Rufinus) 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 Pope 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 of the facade 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 three rose windows. The upper part of the facade dates back to the end of the 13th century, and is composed of a triangular gable with a Gothic arch inside.
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 Cathedral of Saint Rufinus is located about 3.6 kilometers away from the Assisi railway station. The nearest bus stop is just a few steps away, 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.
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