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Assisi

Assisi is a well-preserved medieval town that’s, after the Vatican, Italy’s second most-popular religious-pilgrimage destination. Located high on a hilltop, it has an air of mystical serenity in keeping with its history. Assisi was the home of St. Francis (the founder of the Franciscan order of friars), and the churches and crypt that bear his name draw a steady stream of pilgrims and sightseers every year. Although the town was rocked by an earthquake in 1997, much of the damage has been repaired. One of the most severely damaged buildings, however, was the treasured Basilica of San Francesco, known for its vivid frescoes by Giotto that depict the life of the saint. The upper basilica has recently reopened and, though restoration continues, many of the beloved frescoes can be admired again. The lower basilica and St. Francis’ tomb are also open to the public. 108 mi/174 km north of Rome.

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