The origin of Assisi, as for many other cities in Umbria is uncertain. It was a inhabited by the Umbri, a local population settled in middle Italy. Succesively it was under the influence of Etruscans and Romans, as it is well documented by the numerous vestiges of the roman municipium called Asisium. Among these vestiges there is the well preserved façade of the Temple of Minerva, remains of the Forum, the amphitheatre, the Roman walls. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city became a settlement of the Goths around 545 A.D.
Succesively it was under the Longobards. Around 1000 A.D., it become an indipendent city (comune). During this period it knew the extraordinary spread of the monastic movement (especially the Benedestines). Around 1180 Saint Francis was born, the most famous of the sons of Assisi. The son of Pietro di Bernardone, a rich merchant, he grew as a young nobles of Assisi. During a war between Assisi and Perugia, he was held prisoner for several months in 1202. Dissatisfied with his life, he turned to prayer and service to the poor, and in 1206 he publicy renounced his father's wealth. Pope Innocent III approved his way of life, gave him and his disciples permission to preach on moral topics, and had Francis ordained a deacon. With the collaboration of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194 - 8/11/1253), Francis founded (1212) a branch of his order for women, called the Poor Clares. Later, he established (1221) another branch for lay men and women, called the Third Order. He died on October 3, 1226 and was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregorio IX. The city was under the imperial and then papal rule. There was then a succession of local lords like Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the Montefeltro family, Braccio Fortebraccio and Franesco Sforza, until the middle of the sixteenth century, when Umbria was conquered by Paul III who built the famous "Rocca Paolina" in Perugia and reestablished the pope control over the city. Lately, in the nineteen century the city joined the newly born Italian state, together with other umbrian cities..
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