Umbria: Assisi—Basilica of Saint Francis

IMG_1498All roads lead to the Basilica of Saint Francis (San Francesco).

la-romita-pics-1851.jpgThe Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000, is one of the important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. The basilica (begun in 1228) is built into the side of a hill and comprises two churches known as the Upper Church and the Lower Church. A crypt in the Lower Church contains the remains of Saint Francis.

la romita pics - 192The Upper and Lower Churches are decorated with frescoes created by numerous late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools, and include works by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti. The range and quality of the works show the development of Italian art from this period.

No photography is permitted inside the basilica. You’ll  have to visit Assisi yourself to soak in the magnificent art and Gothic architecture!

img_1495.jpgArt is everywhere! Street chalk drawing of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.


IMG_1488Buttresses supporting the Basilica of Saint Clare.

IMG_1547The choir practiced while we wandered through Chiesa Nuova, providing an enchanting acoustic backdrop.

IMG_1514The Temple of Minerva currently houses a church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, built in 1539 and renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century.

IMG_1503The temple was originally built in the 1st century BC by will of Gnaeus Caesius and Titus Caesius Priscus—two of the city’s quattuorviri (civil servants) who also financed the construction. The temple façade features six Corinthian columns.

IMG_1506Frescoed remains appear in an alcove across from the Temple of Minerva.

IMG_1544Assisi is hilly (an understatement); it’s easy to rack up those 10,000 daily steps!


IMG_1480Stopping with Ellen and Sally to catch our breath and to enjoy gelato and cappuccino.



Coming up in the series:

Umbria: Deruta—Maiolica

Umbria: Bevagna—Papermaker

Umbria: Cascata delle Marmore—Manmade Waterfall

Umbria: Farewell—Ink, Paint, Paper, Passion