Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

 

The Basilica dedicated to Saint Francis, is divided into two large churches on two different levels, Lower Basilica and the Upper Basilica, following the hill slope. This is surrounded by two large arcades visible from afar; these were built to retain the hillside during the construction of the church.

But why two churches? It is normal for the relics of theater a saint to be placed in a crypt, however, in this case, an entire church was built to hold them: the Lower Basilica. The lower church resemble the Romanesque style, it is is very austere, short and has large cross vaults set on massive pilasters to support the weight of the upper church.

The present day shape dates back to 18th century; at this time side chapels and entrance atrium were added to the single nave Romanesque structure, windows were bricked up, a change which gives the light here a special glow.

This intensely moving place is the destination for tens of thousands each year, both believers and non-believers, all attracted by a city that became a symbol of peace and by the name of Saint Francis, one of the most popular saints in the world.