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If you’re looking for things to do in Assisi that don’t have to do with churches, then you should visit the Rocca Maggiore, which literally means “Large Fortress”. The earliest documents that make mention of the fortress date to the year 1174, and they mention that it was built as a German feudal castle. Frederick of Hohenstaufen, the future Emperor Frederick II, spent some years of his childhood here, but the fortress was destroyed in 1198. It was rebuilt in 1367 by Cardinal Albornoz, using the crenellated western external walls and part of the internal walls. In 1458, Jacopo Piccino ordered the construction of a 12-sided tower and the long connecting wall, while Pope Paul III had a circular tower near the entrance built in 1535-1538.

Indeed, today’s fortress is the result of various overlapping structures and renovations. It is composed of a robust trapezoidal defensive wall with towers in each angle. At its center there is the square castle, with its adjacent tower. The defensive wall, which encompasses a smaller fortress somewhat below the larger fortress, connects with the walls that surround the city. From its position, you can see the historical center of the city and you can enjoy one of the best vistas over the entire Umbra Valley. Today, after years of renovations, a variety of cultural and musical events are held at the castle.

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