The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is an enormous church that attracts pilgrims from across the globe with its Baroque chapels and Franciscan origin story. Learn about St. Francis of Assisi, who chose to live a life of poverty in the 12th century.
Built in the late 16th century, the basilica’s avant-garde mannerist design ran counter to traditional renaissance expectations. Admire the building’s elegant façade, which features an arch in its center and portals flanked by columns. Gaze up at the gold statue of the Madonna degli Angeli by sculptor Colasanti. See the basilica at night, when its dome and arches are illuminated.
Enter the enormous church and head to the chapel of Porziuncola, which is set directly beneath the dome. This important chapel dates back to the 11th century and contains marvelous 14th-century frescos.
Wander through the presbytery to reach the Cappella del Transito, which marks the place where St. Francis of Assisi died in 1226. View the statue of the saint near the altar and admire the chapel’s ornate 16th-century décor. Find out about the famous saint, who was a Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He is known for his love of animals and decision to live a humble life.
Explore the three serene and spacious naves that comprise this huge church. Peruse the intriguing relics on display in the Porziuncola Museum. Its highlight is a wooden painting of a crucifix dating back to the 13th century. Stroll through the church’s rose garden, where legend has it St. Francis of Assisi would roll in thorns to fight off temptation and doubt. It’s said the thorn bushes transformed into roses without thorns when they touched the saint’s body.
The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli sits at the center of its namesake commune. Arrive at Assisi Railway Station and walk west for about 5 minutes to reach the church. Take a bus from the center of Assisi and arrive within 20 minutes. Park the car beside the church for free.
Visit the seventh largest church in the world, birthplace of the Franciscan movement.