The first records of the Rocca Maggiore dates back to 1174, when it was erected as a German castle.
The future emperor Frederick II of Swabia spent several years of his childhood here in the care of Conrad Urslingen and was baptized in Assisi at the age of three years in 1197.
The following year, in the absence of Conrad , the people of Assisi rebelled and destroyed the castle.
The castle remained a ruin until 1367, when the Cardinal Albornoz rebuilt the fortress using the western section of exterior walls and part of the inner fortifications.
In 1458 Jacopo Piccinino, then lord of Assisi, erected the twelve-sided tower and along curtain wall connecting the castle to the city.
In 1478, Pope Sixtus IV restored the keep of the castle, while between 1535 and 1538 Pope Paul III built the round tower near the main door.