S. Francis of Assisi

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/05/08/002
Level Item
Place Assisi
Scope and Content Upper church: The vow of chasisty. This is a commercial photograph. It is annotated in pencil at the back. Creator unknown.
Further information The church complex dedicated to S. Francis at Assisi consists of two basilicas built one above the other, a crypt and the friary of S. Francis. The lower basilica, with barrel vaulted transept and a semicircular apse at the east end, dates from 1228-1230 and is decorated with works by some of the greatest thirteenth and fourteenth-century painters such as Cimabue, Giotto, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini.

A series of adjoining chapels were added to the building at the instigation of members of noble local families between 1270 and 1350. The upper basilica, a bright and spacious single four-bay church with cross-vaulted ceiling, a transept and a polygonal east apse dates from 1230-1253 and is adorned, among other masterworks by Cimabue, Cavallini and Torriti, by the famous Giotto frescoes depicting the life of S. Francis. The stained glass windows of the building were produced by German, French and Italian workshops. The crypt under the lower basilica houses the tomb of S. Francis. It remained hidden until 1818, was constructed under the initiative of Pope Pius IX and redesigned in neo-Romanesque style between 1925 and 1932.

Close to the complex stands the friary of Sacro Convento. The monastery, which is surrounded by walls and buttresses giving the impression of a fortress, was already inhabited in 1230. Today it houses a medieval library and a museum.