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Images of St. Francis' World - Assisi

Photo Galleries featuring the Basilica of St. Francis, Chiesa Nuovo, the Cathedral of San Rufino, San Stefano,
the Bishop's Palace & Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of Saint Clare, San Damiano, Rivotorto,
the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli & the Porziuncola 
are displayed on this page.

Click on the above image to access a live webcam view of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. 

The Basilica of St. Francis 

The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor, (commonly known as the Franciscan Order), in Assisi, Italy, the city where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. With its accompanying friary, the basilica is a distinctive landmark to those approaching Assisi. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

The basilica, which was begun in 1228, is built into the side of a hill and comprises two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church, and a crypt where the remains of the saint are interred. The interior of the Upper Church is an important early example of the Gothic style in Italy. The Upper and Lower Churches are decorated with frescoes by numerous late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools, and include works by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and possibly Pietro Cavallini. The range and quality of the works gives the basilica a unique importance in demonstrating the development of Italian art of this period.


Construction of the Franciscan friary and the Lower and Upper Basilicas began immediately after his canonization in 1228. Simone di Pucciarello donated the land for the church, a hill at the west side of Assisi, known as "Hill of Hell" where previously criminals were put to death. Today, this hill is called "Hill of Paradise".

The Lower Basilica was finished in 1230. On Pentecost 25 May 1230, the uncorrupted body of St. Francis was brought in a solemn procession to the Lower Basilica from its temporary burial place in the church of St. George, now the Basilica of Saint Clare of Assisi. The burial place was concealed for fear that St Francis' remains might be stolen and dispersed. The construction of the Upper Basilica was begun after 1239 and was completed in 1253. Both churches were consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

Pope Nicholas IV, a former Minister-General of the Order of Franciscans, raised the church to the status of Papal Church in 1288. The Piazza del Loge, the square leading to the church, is surrounded by colonnades constructed in 1474. They housed the numerous pilgrims flocking to this church. In 1818, the remains of St Francis were rediscovered beneath the floor of the Lower Basilica. In the reign of Pope Pius IX the crypt was built so that the faithful might visit the burial place of the saint.

Click on the above image to access a live webcam of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.

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Chiesa Nuovo

The Chiesa Nuova is a church in Assisi, Italy, built in 1615 on the site of  the house of Pietro di Bernardone, the presumed birthplace of St. The Chiesa Nuova is a church in Assisi, Italy, built in 1615 on the site of  the house of Pietro di Bernardone, the presumed birthplace of St. Francis. It was then called Chiesa Nuova because it was the last church to be built in Assisi at that time.

During a visit to Assisi in 1613, Antonio de Trejo, the Spanish Vicar General of the Franciscans, was saddened when he saw the original home of St. Francis becoming dilapidated. With the help of the Spanish Embassy in Rome and through a generous gift of 6,000 ducats by King Philip III of Spain, he was able to buy the house.

Pope Paul V authenticated this purchase on 10 July 1615 and blessed the first stone. On 20 September 1615 this foundation stone was then brought, in a solemn procession, from the Cathedral of San Rufino to the building site.

The church, built in late Renaissance style, features a high dome divided in coffers, with lantern and a drum. Such a caisson ceiling is a feature of Renaissance architecture. It was built in the form of a Greek cross, with nave and transepts of the same length, inspired by the Roman Church Sant Eligio degli Orefici, one of the few churches designed and built by Raphael. The church is decorated with frescoes by Cesare Sermei and Giacomo Giorgetti (17th century).

The high altar was set over the room of St. Francis. One can also visit the shop where Francis sold his cloth and the stairwell in which Francis was imprisoned by his father.  Francis. It was then called Chiesa Nuova because it was the last church to be built in Assisi at that time. Chiesa Nuova is a few steps away from the Piazza del Commune.

Click on the above image to access a live webcam of the Piazza del Commune.

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Cathedral of San Rufino

 Cathedral of San Rufino of Assisi, dedicated to San Rufino (Rufinus of Assisi) is a major church in Assisi, Italy, that has been important in the history of the Franciscan order. In this church Saint Francis of Assisi (1182), Saint Clare (1193) and many of their original disciples were baptised. It was on hearing Francis preaching in this church in 1209 that Clare became deeply touched by his message and realized her calling. Tommaso da Celano related that once Saint Francis was witnessed praying in this church while, at the same time, he was seen jumping on a chariot of fire in the Porziuncola.

This stately church in Umbrian Romanesque style was the third church built on the same site to contain the remains of bishop Rufinus of Assisi, martyred in the 3rd century. The construction was started in 1140 to the designs by Giovanni da Gubbio, as attested by the wall inscription visible inside the apse. He may be the same Giovanni who designed the rose-window on the façade of Santa Maria Maggiore in 1163.

In 1228, while he was in Assisi for the canonization of Saint Francis, Pope Gregory IX consecrated the high altar. Pope Innocent IV inaugurated the finished church in 1253.

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San Stefano

San Stefano is one of the oldest churches built in Assisi. Simple stonemasons built this rustic memento of their faith. This beautiful 12th century Romanesque church is surrounded by fig, walnut and cypress trees which were outside the town walls in the time of St. Francis. According to legends, the bells of this church started ringing miraculously the day St. Francis died, on October 3rd, 1226. In those days, the date changed at 6:00 p.m., so Francis' Feast Day is on October 4th.

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The Bishop's Palace & Santa Maria Maggiore

The Bishop's Palace in Assisi is where the young Francis, under the eyes of Bishop Guido, chose the path of total service to God and therefore of freedom from the earthly world. In the courtyard of the palace, Francis renounced his father and his patrimony, even returning the clothing he had received from him. It was also in this place that Saint Francis was the bishop's guest, before he went to die beside his beloved Porziuncola. 

Founded in the 10th century, Santa Maria Maggiore was the cathedral of Assisi before 1036, when the church of San Rufino took over the position.
The building we see today dates back to the 12th century. The simple facade bears an inscription from 1163 and is divided into three sections by pilaster strips. The nave, semi-circular apse and sacristy still have remains of frescoes from the 14th and 15th century. A late-Medieval 9th century sarcophagus lies to the right of the entrance. The crypt dates back to the previous church and leads via a passageway to the so-called House of Propertius, with its Pompeian style wall paintings.

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Basilica of Saint Clare

 The Basilica of Saint Clare in Assisi is dedicated to Saint Clare, who was a follower of Saint Francis and founder of the Order of Poor Ladies, known today as the Order of Saint Clare. Construction of the church began under the direction of Filippo Campello, one of the foremost architects of the time. On 3 October 1260, Clare's remains were transferred from the chapel of San Giorgio to the Basilica of Saint Clare where they were buried in the earth under the high altar of the new church.

After having remained hidden for six centuries - like the remains of St. Francis - and after much search had been made, Clare's tomb was found in 1850. On 23 September in that year the coffin was unearthed and opened, the flesh and clothing of the saint had been reduced to dust, but the skeleton was in a perfect state of preservation. Finally, on 29 September 1872, the saint's bones were transferred, with much pomp, by Archbishop Pecci, afterwards Pope Leo XIII, to the shrine, in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Clare, erected to receive them, and where they may now be seen.

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San Damiano

San Damiano is a church with a monastery near Assisi, Italy. It was the first monastery of the Order of Saint Clare, where Saint Clare built her community. Perhaps one of the most significant aspects regarding the church as well was Saint Francis' encounter with Christ. He had been praying at San Damiano which at the time was a very run down building. Saint Francis saw the figure of Christ crucified come alive and say to him, "Francis, don't you see my house is crumbling apart? Go, then, and restore it!" Afterwards Saint Francis took action to repair San Damiano, although he eventually realized that God's message to him was to restore the Church as a whole rather than literally repair churches such as San Damiano. The cross from which Christ spoke to Saint Francis is known as the San Damiano cross. It currently hangs in the Basilica of Saint Clare in Assisi.

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Rivotorto

The church of Santa Maria of Rivotorto, also known as the "Sanctuary of Rivotorto", is located  a few kilometres from the cities of Assisi and Santa Maria degli Angeli. The church, currently under the care of the Order of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv) was built to preserve the Sacred Tugurio, which is the place where St. Francis his first followers lived before he orented the Porziuncola from the Order of the Benedictine Monks. Outside the church is a sculpture of St. Francis & the Leper.

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Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli & the Porziuncola

The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli is located about 4 km south from Assisi. Inside the Basiliaca is the Porziuncola, the most sacred place of the Franciscan Order. This was the beloved home of St. Francis of Assisi, who died just outside its walls.

Click on the above image to access a live webcam view of the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli.

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