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Reform of a Roman temple of 2000 years old into a Catholic church? Temple of Minerva in Assisi

Tempio di Minerva in Assisi
Piazza del Comune is a square situated in the center of historical town of Assisi. There are a beautiful fountain, the City Hall and the theater.

Tempio di Minerva in Assisi
Temple of Minerva. It's used as a church now. On the left there is a tower of Popolo built in the 14th century.

Tempio di Minerva in Assisi
Behind the columns, there is a cross as a symbol of the church. Only the interior was rebuilt in Baroque style.

Tempio di Minerva in Assisi
This is the first part of "Legend of St. Francis". The Temple of Minerva is depicted in the background, not like a church.

Outside is a Roman temple, inside is a Catholic church. Temple of Minerva built 2000 years ago!

Assisi was built by Umbrians, one of the original inhabitants of ancient Italy. The town is full of various buildings that show its long history. This Minerva Temple (Tempio di Minerva) is one of them: an ancient Roman temple built during the Roman Empire. It's situated in the Piazza del Comune. It's said that this building has been left in the best condition. A lower pediment (triangular gable wall), six columns with Corinthian capitals and a grooved pedestal are typical Roman building at that time. The temple was built in the BC 1, more than 2000 years ago. It is still showing the original beauty. Inside is also interesting. Except the front pillar, the inside was reformed into a Catholic church in 1539. Later in the 17th century it was restored again in the Baroque style. The name of the church is Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church. "Sopra" means "up" so whole name means the church of St. Mary built on the Minerva.

Please check the fresco of the temple of Minerva in the church of St. Francis!

St. Francis Church has Giotto's masterpiece: 28 frescoes expressing the whole life of the famous St. Francis. In one of them it's depicted the original Roman temple of Minerva. That fresco is "Honor the king (Francesco onorato dall'uomo semplice)". The young Francis who still has not heard God's voice (dressed in a luxury blue cloth as a son of millionaire) is walking in front of the temple of Minerva. If you look it carefully, you will notice that there is no church inside the temple. These "Life of St. Francis" were drawn from 1299 to 1296, so the temple of Minerva had been empty at that time.

After visiting let's have a break in the square!

This temple is situated in the Piazza del Comune, central square in the town. There are the city hall and tourist Information, many cafes and fine restaurants. Assisi is full of up and down slopes so if you feel tired let's take a break seeing the beautiful square. It's good refreshment!

There is another church with the same name, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva also in Rome!

Actually there is another church with the same name in Rome. It's also a church built on the temple of Minerva and situated in the heart of Rome, close to the Pantheon. The exterior is very simple but it's very famous for its precious art!!! In front of the church there is "Elephant Obelisk" of Bernini as a landmark.

Inside, there are many paintings like "Madonna and Child" of Fra Angelico, "Chapel of Carafa Family" of Filippino Lippi, "Jesus Christ" of Michelangelo and numerous sculptures of Bernini... In addition, there are tombs of St. Catherine and of Fra Angelico. After traveling to Rome and Assisi, it would be interesting to compare these churches with the same name and to imagine the old times.

from ITALY
Advice from who lives in Italy

The Piazza del Comune where the temple of Minerva is situated is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. It's important that the square has an intact medieval atmosphere. Please be seated at a terrace seat and enjoy their beauty. Do not forget photos of course.


Name Temple of Minerva in Assisi (Tempio di Minerva)
Location old city center of Assisi, Piazza del Comune
Opening Hours Weekdays - 7:15 to 19:00 (Tuesday, Friday 14:00 to 17:15)
Sundays and holidays

 8:15 to 19:00
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