The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is a papal basilica in Assisi, located outside the city walls, about 3 kilometers away from the historical center. The basilica shelters the Porziuncola, a small chapel where the Franciscan movement started, the most sacred place for the Franciscan order.
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built between 1565 and 1685 on a project by Galeazzo Alessi, an italian architect from Perugia. The construction took a long time due to the constant lack of money, because the church was financed only from donations.
The earthquake of March 15, 1832, damaged the church beyond repair. The reconstruction of the basilica started in 1836 and was completed 4 years later, in 1840. The architect in charge for the reconstruction was Luigi Poletti.
During the reconstruction, the facade of the church was remodeled in a Neoclassical style. Between 1924 and 1930, the architect Cesare Bazzani returned the facade to its original appearance.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The basilica is built in a Mannerist style and has a Latin cross plan, 126 meters long 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 to the Porziuncola, located under the dome.
On the facade of the Porziuncola, above the entrance, is the fresco by Johann Friedrich Overbeck, depicting Saint Francis receiving the indulgence from the Christ, also known as the Pardon of Assisi.
Inside the church, there is a chapel where Saint Francis died on October 3, 1226. Also, in a reliquary, is kept the cord of Saint Francis, a gift from Pope Pius IX to the Franciscans.
In the basilica, we 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 away from the Assisi railway station, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli can be easily reached on foot. For the exact location of the basilica, use the map below.
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