72729
Assisi (Umbria), Italy

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
(St. Mary the Greater)

 

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore dates back to 11th-12th centuries; however, it was built on an early-Christian building, a Roman house, built over a pagan temple, turned into a worship place.

Its façade is very simple and is subdivided vertically. Above the main doorway is a rose window dating back to 1162 and signed by “Johannes” (perhaps Giovanni from Gubbio, the same architect who built the Cathedral of San Rufino).

The church of Santa Maria Maggiore was originally Assisi’s cathedral, but Bishop Ugone transferred this title to the church of San Rufino.

The church has three naves separated by pilasters. On the walls are fragments of frescos remain dating back to 15th and 16th centuries. The apse was built in 1216, as testified by an inscription reporting the name of Saint Francis and Bishop Guido. The crypt is what remains of the original church and retains Roman capitals and a 9th century sarcophagus with a cross engraved.