Pictures of The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Images & Photos { 34 images } Created 16 Nov 2012

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi ( Basilica Papale di San Francesco ), Assisi, Perugia Italy. One of the great pilgrimage sites for Roman Catholics is the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi. St. Francis is one of the great saints of Roman Catholicism being the founder of two religious orders, the Order of Saint Francis for men and the order of The poor Clares for women. The Franciscan friary (Sacro Convento) and the Lower and Upper Basilicas of Francis of Assisi were begun in honor of this local saint, 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" (Italian: Colle d'Inferno) where previously criminals were put to death. Today, this hill is called "Hill of Paradise". On 16 July 1228, Francis was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in Assisi, and he laid the foundation stone of the new church the following day, although construction may already have been begun. The construction having been begun at his order, the Pope declared the church to be the property of the papacy. The church was designed and supervised by Brother Elias of Cortona, one of the first followers of St. Francis and the former Vicar General of the Order under St. Francis. 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. The construction of the Upper Basilica was begun after 1239 and was completed in 1253 when they were consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

The Basilique of Saint Francis was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Its medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture. The lower basilica is entered through an exquisite Gothic portal; the interior is completely covered with frescoes. The earliest of these date from 1253 and are by an unknown artist, the Maestro di San Francesco. Furthermore, the paintings include allegories attributed to Giotto and his school in the presbytery, the Virgin with a Child on the Throne by Cimabue, and the Crucifixion by Giotto, the paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti and his assistants, and the Chapel of St-Martin by Simone Martini. The upper basilica has a magnificent east front in white limestone, with a large rose window in the centre. In the interior, the walls are decorated with series of paintings relating to the faith and life of the saint.

The Basilica of San Francesco is an outstanding example of a type of architectural ensemble that has significantly influenced the development of art and architecture.
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