Assisi lived its most flourishing period between the XII and the XIII century when it was an Independent Commune.
At the beginning of the year 1000 A.D. Assisi fought hard against Perugia, a Guelph commune; they eventually reached a lasting peace. Saint Francis was born in this period. He would have a huge influence on every domain of the town’s life: religion, art, culture. The artistic development of the town is strictly tied to the figure of St. Francis. The Basilicas consecrated to him and Saint Clare were built in the XIII century and their construction and decoration summoned the biggest Italian artists of the time. The Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, the Palazzo del Monte Frumentario and several gates were built. The painters at work were Cimabue, Giotto, the Maestro di San Francesco and that di Santa Chiara, Pisano and Lorenzetti.
The feudal regime was at odds with the demands of the emerging classes which, in 1198, after creating the free commune, razed to the ground the Rocca Maggiore, where the oppressor Duke Corrado of Lutzen, a powerful fiduciary of Federico Barbarossa, was staying. In this atmosphere full of contrast Francesco di Bernardone was born. On the 16th of July 1228 Pope Gregorio IX came to Assisi to canonize Francesco as Saint; the following day he blessed the first stone and the building of the Basilica and the Sacred Convent could begin: those were eminent monuments which have dictated forever the building and historic development of the town of Assisi.
From the XIV century onward the prosperity of Assisi, subordinate to Perugia, started to decline until the XV century, when Assisi became part of the Papal State.
After a period of calm following the peace with Perugia, Assisi was ruled by different signorie during the Renaissance. There were cruel wars against the nearby towns and Assisi suffered several atrocious raids and devastations.
Also during the Renaissance, the artistic spirit of the time expressed itself in the building of palaces, fountains and in the pictorial works in the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli.