town, Perugia province, Umbria region, central Italy. The town lies 12 miles (19 km) east of Perugia and is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order. Assisi is situated on a spur of Monte Subasio at an elevation of 1,300 feet (400 metres) and overlooks the valleys of the Topino and Chiascio rivers. The town has narrow, winding streets and is surrounded by medieval walls. It developed from the Umbrian, Etruscan, and Roman town of Assisium, of which the temple of Minerva (now a church) is the most notable survival. Subject to the dukes of Spoleto in the early Middle Ages, Assisi became an independent commune in the 12th century and was involved in internal disputes and wars with Perugia before passing to the Papal States in the 16th century. It became part of the Italian kingdom in 1860. St. Francis was born in Assisi in 1182 and died there in 1226.
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