Cathedral of San Rufino (St. Rufinus)


Although every building in Assisi celebrates Saint Francis, the city’s cathedral is dedicated to San Rufino. Rufino was the bishop of Amaziah, Turkey. In the 3rd century, when he arrived to Assisi preaching the Gospel, he was indicted for his religion and thrown in the Chiascio river with a stone around his neck.

The cathedral was built above the forum belonging to the ancient Roman city of Asisium or perhaps above a pagan temple dedicated to Bona Mater (the Roman goddess of Nature and Fertility). The story goes that townspeople fought out the saint’s body -found here in 412 with the Bishop Ugone, who wanted to move it to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore

The citizens took position against the move and started a real “tug of war” with the saint's coffin. The sixty bishops’ men were beaten by only 7 Assisi citizens. The victory was seen as a miracle by everyone, even by Ugone, who then decided to renovate the small basilica. The last renovation, still visible today, was started in 1140; however it was consecrated 100 years later by Pope Innocent IV.