An imposing bastion that has dominated the skyline of Assisi for more than 800 years, the Rocca Maggiore is a magnificent castle that offers spectacular views of Perugia to the north and the surrounding valleys below. Climb the steps that lead up to this fortress to learn about military strategy in the middle ages and discover why Umbria is called the green heart of Italy.
Though there is archeological evidence of defensive fortifications in Assisi, even in pre-Roman times, the earliest records of the castle that stands today date back to the 12th century, when a German feudal castle was erected in the town. Ruined and rebuilt many times in the subsequent centuries, today the Rocca Maggiore retains an impressive stateliness from its former military life. Walk around the walls of the fortress to learn about how the castle was built, pillaged and defended throughout medieval times. Appreciate the strategically important position that it occupies atop the hill north of Assisi.
Visit the exhibitions on display in the restored interior of the fortress. See medieval weapons, armor and garments. Though certainly not as exhilarating as the views of the Umbrian countryside you can enjoy from atop the hill, these displays help bring medieval Assisi to life.
Walk up winding staircases and through tiny passages to reach the archer slots where Assisians defended their city against invading forces. Climb to the top of the castle tower, erected in the 16th century, for 360-degree views of the fertile plains of Umbria and the town of Assisi below.
The Rocca Maggiore is open daily and there is a small admission fee. While the hearty climb up medieval lanes and the pine-scented hillside is enjoyable for some, you can also take a short taxi ride to the castle if you don’t feel up to the walk. Bring a picnic and stay on the hilltop until sunset for magical views of the surrounding countryside.