The Rocca Maggiore castle is a fortress that overlooks the city of Assisi. One of the most visited cities in Italy, Assisi was the birthplace of St. Francis and is the native land of the Franciscans Catholic priests. Assisi is popular not only for its historical and religious cultural wealth, but also because of the breathtaking sights of the Umbria region of Italy. (Fun fact : Assisi is a sister city of San Francisco, California!)

The 175 km (2.5 hours)  drive from Rome to Assisi is one of the best tourism trips you can take in all of Europe!

Rocca Maggiore is the main military fortification of Assisi and for hundreds of years it successfully protected the city from invasions. At 800 years old, the building is in surprising good state of conservation.

From the historical center of Assisi, the Rocca Maggiore can be reached by foot. Local tours sell for around U$ 50,00 and are well worth the investment, since the guides are usually enthusiastic to give travelers countless details about this formidable structure.

A small walk up wood stairs will lead you to the imposing front gates which once resisted attacks against the city. Today, those gates are wide open and welcoming visitors into the interiors of the castle.

Inside you will note the arched windows from where once soldiers fired primitive XIV century weapons against enemies. An iron cage on the wall, which one couldn’t mistake for a jail cell due to its small size, was once a furnace that kept the soldiers warm during the rough winter time.

The entire structure can be visited in less than 2 hours, with more than enough time to enjoy the sight of the highest geographic point of Assisi.

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Photo: Berthold Werner