St. Clare - ASSISI
TO REACH US
This Basilica is the church that the common people wanted to build in honour of St. Clare of Assisi, the first and most faithful follower of St. Francis.
Construction began in 1257, just four years after the Saint’s death and two years after her canonization.
The Basilica was finished in 1265 and the body of Clare was placed under the main altar on October 3, 1265.
It was built in the area where the ancient Chapel of St. George was located. This was the place where Francis (until 1230) and Clare (until 1260) were first buried.
The interior of the Basilica has a Gothic structure, with a single nave with four bays. Above the main altar is the beautiful cross-shaped vault (1255-1260), created by the painter Benvenuto of Foligno. At the foot of Christ, St. Francis and St. Clare are adoring the Son of God.
On the right side of the transept, behind the altar, is the huge icon portraying Clare and eight scenes from her life. This work was done in 1283 by the same Benvenuto of Foligno.
The most precious place however is certainly the Crucifix Chapel, in which the Byzantine Crucifix (work of an Assisi painter in the mid 1100s) is jealously guarded. In 1206, this crucifix spoke to the young Francis in the little church of San Damiano which brought about his conversion and determined his mission for life.
Taking the stairs, located in the middle of the Basilica, one can go to the Crypt, built in the second half of the 1700s and recently remodelled. The body of St. Clare, rediscovered on September 23, 1850, is preserved here along with some precious relics.
For more than 700 years, a community of Poor Clares has lived alongside the Basilica. This community continues to be a sign of love of God and love of man lived in the joyous following of the poor crucified Christ.
For a long time, the small community of Friars Minor has been serving in the Basilica and they have been Chaplains for the Proto-monastery.