Communal Square (Piazza del Comune)
Piazza del Comune, Assisi’s cornerstone, tells the city’s history through its buildings. Its North side is dominated by the Temple of Minerva flanked by the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, built in 1282. The South side dates back to the the end of 140, when the Palazzo dei Priori was finished. In the middle dominates the piazza an impressive circular fountain; the Central Post-Office Building dating back to 1926, is the most recent block.
It is not yet clear if the buildings rising here during ancient times belonged to the Roman Forum of Asisium or to the terraced Sanctuary like the one dedicated to Fortuna Primigenia in Palestrina, as well as several tabernae; at the far ends were probably two monumental fountains, perhaps dedicated to Castor and Pollux. After the Roman municipality crisis, this area was destroyed in the 6th century by the siege of Totila and again in the 8th by Charlemagne.
The piazza was deserted and filled with debris which over time raised the ground level by over 3 metres. In the Middle Ages, the area was filled with religious and noblemen’s buildings overlooking a small piazza where the market was held.
Only with the Commune Era the piazza changed back to be the heart of the city and since 1212, when the Commune was moved here, the piazza was named, platea comunis: the place where people gather.