Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli) is a papal church in Assisi, outside city walls, about 4 kilometers from the historic centre. The Basilica shelters the Porziuncola, a small church where the Franciscan movement started and, at the same time, the most sacred place for the Franciscan order.
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built between 1565 and 1685, after a project by Galeazzo Alessi, an italian architect from Perugia. The construction has taken a long time due to constant lack of money, because the church was financed only from donations.
After an earthquake on 15 March 1832, the church suffered major damage. The reconstruction of the basilica started in 1836 and was finished 4 years later, in 1840. The architect in charge for the reconstruction was Luigi Poletti.
During reconstruction, the façade of the church was remodeled in a neoclassical style, but the architect Cesare Bazzani gave back, between 1924 and 1930, its original form.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The basilica was built in a Mannerist style and has a latin cross structure, 126 meters in lenght and 65 meters wide. The interior has three naves and a large dome, 79 meters high, and is simple in style, to focus everyone’s attention on the Porziuncola, located under the dome.
On the façade of the Porziuncola, above the entrance, is the fresco by Johann Friedrich Overbeck, depicting Saint Francis receiving the indulgence from the Christ, known as the “Pardon of Assisi”.
Inside the church, there is a chapel where St. Francis died on October 3, 1226. Also, here, in a reliquary, is kept the cord of St. Francis, a gift from Pope Pius IX to the Franciscans.
In the church, you can find works of art by Pietro Perugino, Tiberio of Assisi, Domenico Bruschi, Giovanni di Pietro and by the priest Ilario da Viterbo.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located only 600 meters from the Assisi train station, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli can be easily reached by foot, if you are coming from that direction. For the exact location and the right direction to the basilica, use the map below.