Francis was officially declared a saint on July 16, 1228. The following day, the pope Gregory IX laid the first stone of the Church of St. Francis which was consecrated in 1253 and designated as Major Basilica in 1288. It is made of two main levels, the upper church (basilica superiore) and the lower church (basilica inferiore), plus a small underground crypt housing the tomb of the saint. The lower church was built first and contains the papal high altar under which St. Francis was buried. When his tomb was rediscovered in 1818, the crypt was carved out of the rock to allow visitors access. The upper church is a magnificent example of Italian Gothic. Cimabue painted the transept and apse in 1280-83 and Giotto painted the Legend of St. Francis in the lower register of the nave a few years later.


Where: Assisi