Abbey of San Pietro in Assisi

Abbey in Assisi

Assisi, San Pietro
CC BY-SA 3.0 / sailko

Situated in the square bearing its name, at the outskirts of Assisi’s historic center, the Abbey of San Pietro stands as a captivating destination for visitors. Its roots trace back to Benedictine origins, boasting a remarkable facade, stunning interior, and an ambiance steeped in spirituality.

Although perhaps overshadowed by the fame of the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare, the Abbey of San Pietro holds its own significance and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside other Franciscan landmarks and the town of Assisi itself.

Founded by the Benedictines towards the end of the tenth century, the abbey underwent several renovations until its final reconstruction in the thirteenth century. After over two centuries of Benedictine occupancy, the Cistercians assumed control around 1252, completing the construction and consecrating the church in 1254 under Pope Innocent IV’s patronage. Subsequently, in 1316, with the expansion of Assisi’s city walls, the abbey became integrated into the city for the first time.

Following a brief stint as a civil hospital, the abbey underwent significant restoration in 1954 and remains a hub for monastic and spiritual life in Assisi.

Architecturally, the church exemplifies the Romanesque-Umbrian style prevalent in the thirteenth century, bearing distinctive Benedictine influences. Constructed with the region’s characteristic pink stone from Mount Subasio, the rectangular facade is horizontally segmented by a series of hanging arches and vertically delineated by tripartite pilasters. Notably, the facade once boasted a tympanum, which was lost after the earthquake of 1832, leaving behind an inscription-marked stringcourse frame at its summit.

Internally, the stone structure features a central nave and side aisles separated by sturdy pillars. A raised presbytery, semi-circular apse, and dome, supported by a concentric step structure, adorn the interior. The nave’s wooden-beamed roof is upheld by ogival arches, while the side sections are vaulted with masonry. Noteworthy elements include six fourteenth-fifteenth century tombs and remnants of frescoes from the same period. Of particular interest is the Gothic-style Blessed Sacrament chapel, housing a precious triptych by Matteo da Gualdo.

The Abbey of San Pietro in Assisi appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Assisi!

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Visiting Abbey of San Pietro in Assisi

Address: Chiesa di San Pietro, Piazza San Pietro, Assisi, Province of Perugia, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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