Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Assisi, where Saint Francis was born and died. Located in Assisi, Italy.

As the hill slopes upward, the Basilica of Saint Francis is divided into two large churches, the Lower and Upper Basilicas, each occupying a separate level. When the church was being built, the hillside was stabilized by two massive arcades that can be seen from a great distance away from the church.

Why are there two churches? A crypt is usually where a saint’s relics are kept, but in this case, an entire church was constructed to house them: the Lower Basilica. Large cross vaults and massive pilasters support the weight of the upper church in the lower church which is very austere, short, and has large cross vaults.

The current form dates back to the 18th century when side chapels and an entrance atrium were added to the single nave Romanesque structure, and windows were bricked up, creating a unique glow.

St. Francis, the most popular saint in the world, has made this place a pilgrimage destination for tens of thousands of people each year, both religious adherents and non-believers alike.

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