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A day in Rasiglia, "the Little Venice of Umbria", Assisi and Gubbio

August 2020

Rasiglia a Sellano, the Little Venice of Umbria

Tucked away among the green hills of Umbria, Rasiglia is a medieval village dating back to the 13th century. While the centuries-old stone homes and buildings appear as though they’re frozen in time, the town is constantly in motion; small streams rush through the village, looping around centuries-old homes and stone buildings.

The streams, fed by the Menotre tributary, weave through the village, forming torrents, basins, and small waterfalls. During the 16th century, they powered the town’s mill, wool and dyeing factory, and wash-houses. After the mill and factories shuttered, many abandoned Rasiglia for the closest city, and only a few residents live in the village today.

Some of the buildings that were abandoned or damaged have been restored, such as the old mill, while others have been converted into homes.

Rasiglia a Sellano, Wikimedia Commons


Birthplace of St. Francis (1181-1226), the Basilica stands on two levels dedicated to him, the construction of which began just 2 years after his death.

The Lower Basilica is a place of unparalleled peace and splendor that are difficult to describe, the environment conveys a sense of mysticism and emotions that I personally have not experienced anywhere else. Here are the crypt in which the sarcophagus of the saint is kept, the relics and the famous frescoes depicting his life attributed to Giotto and Cimabue.

Basilica san Francesco Assisi
St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Wikimedia Commons
Assisi Basilica inferiore
Basilica Inferiore, Assisi, Wikimedia Commons

The Upper Basilica was seriously damaged by the earthquake of November 26, 1997 causing 4 victims and destroying most of the frescoes on the vault of the first span. Dozens of restorers were engaged in the work of what was called “The construction site of utopia”, 60,000 hours were spent, at a cost of 72 billion lire. In just 2 years the Basilica was reopened.

Basilica superiore immagini terremoto 1997
A shot of the 1997 earthquake in the Upper Basilica
Basilica Superiore Assisi, Wikimedia Commons
Basilica Superiore nowadays, Wikimedia Commons


Gubbio is a pretty medieval town, known for its Basilica, the Cathedral and Palazzo dei Consoli. Its history is closely linked to that of St. Francis, because the miraculous episode of the encounter with the wolf mentioned in the Little Flowers of St. Francis took place here as well as his true conversion after having lived with the poor and the lepers.

Gubbio Palazzo dei Consoli
Gubbio Palazzo dei Consoli, Wikimedia Commons
Gubbio, Wikimedia Commons