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St. Francis and the Basilica in Assisi

A holy city for Christians, Assisi is an eternal destination for pilgrims wanting to the see the places where Saint Francis was born, where he worked, and where he died. 

In this small center – propped up on the slopes of Mount Subasio – everything in sight seems to refer to the Saint, even if it is only remotely relevant to his life.
Together with almost all its surrounding territory, Assisi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. UNESCO describes Assisi as constituting a unique example of continuous history, as a city-sanctuary, from its Umbrian-Roman origins, through the Middle Ages and up to today. 

The World Heritage Committee included on its list the Basilica and other sites important to the Franciscan Order, due to the fact that they represent an amalgamation of masterpieces stemming from creative human genius – aside from being a fundamental reference in European and international art history. In particular, the Basilica of St. Francis has been defined as an extraordinary example of an architectonic complex that has heavily influenced the development of art and architecture. 
The celebration for St. Francis as Patron Saint of Italy occurs every October 4; he cultivated a humble and poor style of life, which is probably why he is Italy’s most beloved saint. In this Umbrian city, the Basilica dedicated to his name and life preserves the remains of the “mendicant of Assisi,” thus making it a destination for thousands upon thousands of religious pilgrims.

Having been the birthplace of the Franciscan Order since the Middle Ages, Assisi has been the center of the Franciscan Cult and the movement’s diffusion throughout the world, focusing on a message of peace and tolerance, especially in regard to other religions. 
Francis died at the age of 44, and only two years later, he was canonized in an official Church ceremony in Assisi, on July 16, 1228. On that same day, Pope Gregory IX laid the first stone of the future Basilica, destined to become the “mother house” for the Franciscan Order. 

However, the initial intention of those who planned it is not one-hundred percent clear. Even today, the critics have not been able to interpret the stylistic discrepancies between the Upper and Lower churches. 
It has been proposed that the Sanctuary was conceived as a two-level church, with the Lower level (created to hold the Saint’s remains) to be a commemorative church, and the Upper to hold official Church liturgies: in fact the apse contains a papal throne, meaning the Pope himself is Bishop of this church. 
The Lower Church functions as a typical crypt or mausoleum, erected on the tomb of St. Francis (using ancient paleo-Christian practices as a model).

You Should Know That...
The Sanctuary of Assisi is one of the oldest existing Gothic churches in Italy, and its walls are decorated with frescoes by CimabueGiottoSimone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti
In this regard, no other church can compete with the Basilica at Assisi.

Useful Information

Useful Information

Useful Links

Umbria Tourism
Region of Umbria  
Commune of Assisi

Associated Touristic Service of Assisi
Tel +39 075 812450 / Fax: +39 075 813727

Basilica of Assisi
For Information: + 39 075/8190084

How to Get There

By Plane
Airport San Francesco d'Assisi

By Train
Santa Maria degli Angeli Station Hours