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Temple of Minerva

The peculiar Temple of Minerva, one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture, really makes the Piazza del Comune unique. It was built by will of two consuls who funded the project. It is not clear if it was truly dedicated to goddess Minerva since it was named after the discovery of a statue portraying a female figure; actually, a inscription dedicated to Hercules was found here.

In 1539 the Church of Santa Maria Sopra la Minerva was created; it was renovated according to Baroque style during the 17th century. Only the façade with six columns supporting architrave and pediment, belonging to the Roman structure, are left.

The Temple of Minerva and its classic beauty, always awed artists and travelers. Even Giotto reproduced it on a fresco in the Basilica of Saint Francis and the architect Palladio, in his famous treatise on architecture, considered the temple as one of the main examples of ancient buildings; but surely one of the most vivid and passionate descriptions was given by Goethe in his “Italian Journey” describing, while visiting Assisi in 1786, his feelings about this building.