Temple of Minerva, Assisi

Roman Site in Assisi

Temple.of.Minerva Assissi
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Georges Jansoone

The Temple of Minerva in Assisi, Italy, is an ancient Roman structure that now serves as the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, constructed in 1539 and later renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century.

Dating back to the 1st century BC, the temple was commissioned by Gnaeus Caesius and Titus Caesius Priscus, two of the city’s quattuorviri who financed its construction. Though originally attributed to the goddess Minerva due to the discovery of a female statue, evidence suggests it may have been dedicated to the male demi-god Hercules. Throughout the Middle Ages, the temple was repurposed as a tribunal and jail, as depicted in one of Giotto’s frescoes in the St. Francis Basilica.

Today, the temple’s fa├žade remains intact, featuring six Corinthian columns supporting an architrave and a small pediment. While the cella was demolished during the church’s construction in the 16th century, a portion of the temple was uncovered near the altar in the 20th century.

Renowned poet Goethe visited and admired the Temple of Minerva during his travels in Italy in 1786, noting it as the first well-preserved ancient structure he encountered.

The Temple of Minerva, Assisi appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Assisi!

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Visiting Temple of Minerva, Assisi

Address: Temple of Minerva, Piazza del Comune, Assisi, Province of Perugia, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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