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Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli

Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli

The Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli was built between 1569 and 1679. It incorporates the structures of the Franciscan monastery built near the Porziuncola.

At the conclusion of the Council of Trent, Pius V wanted the construction of the basilica for two reasons: to recognize the importance of the order of Franciscan Minorite and to welcome pilgrims who still flock there on the occasion of the Indulgence of the Pardon (July 31-August 2) established by St. Francis.
The church was completed in 1679 with the construction of the bell tower of the right side. It has a nave and two side aisles and was designed by Galeazzo Alessi; Giacomo Martelli Giacomo Giorgetti and maybe even Vignola helped with its construction.
After the damage of the 1832 earthquake, the church was partially rebuilt by Luigi Poletti (1836-40) in the same manner. The façade was raised in 1925-30.

In 1930 the statue of "Our Lady of the Angels" by the sculptor Colasanti was placed at the top of the façade, and the present layout of the square was designed by the architect Nicolosi in1950.
The interior has a nave with side aisles and lateral chapels whose wall decorations represent the most complete collection of the Umbrian painting of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. The Porziuncola Chapel and the Chapel of the Transit have artistic and religious links to the life of St. Francis.
The chapel of the Porziuncula dates back to the tenth or eleventh century. It is dedicated to St. Mary of the Angels or St. Mary of the Portiuncula. Around 1205, St. Francis established his residence, restoring it and founded the Franciscan Order there (1208). The top of the façade is decorated with a fresco by Friedrich Overbeck from Lubeck (1829) depicting The Pardon of Assisi. On the right side fragments of frescoes (with their Sienese influence) dating back to the fifteenth century are visible. Over the Altar is a large altarpiece by Ilario da Viterbo depicting Annunciation and stories of Forgiveness.
The Chapel of the Transit is the infirmary cell where St. Francis died on October 3, 1226. Outside are frescoes by Domenico Bruschi (1886), Death and funeral of a Franciscan Saint. Frescoes in the interior are by Lo Spagna. Inside the chapel is the niche containing the statue of St. Francis, in glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia.
From the sacristy, a hallway leads to the Rose garden linked to a legend about the life of St. Francis, the small garden planted exclusively with roses without thorns. Rose Garden is adjacent to the chapel of the Rose Garden (1518) with three rooms frescoed by Tiberio d'Assisi, who also designed the wall frescoes of the Oratory of St. Bonaventure (1506). Along the exit route the fifteenth-century cloister is visible on the left, as well as what remains of the convent at the time of St. Bernardino of Siena (15th c.).


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