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Porziuncola (Assisi) Italy: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels


About the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels:

This giant Basilica actually houses the tiny chapel (the Portiuncula–literally the “tiny portion”) that Saint Francis built in response to Our Lady’s request to “help rebuild my church”.

The small chapel inside the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi

Any visit to Assisi should certainly include this Basilica. When you visit here you will see the small chapel (the Portiuncula) where he lived and where he began the Franciscan Order. The Basilica is actually built over this chapel and dwarfs the chapel itself.

It also contains the cell where Saint Francis died, the Chapel of the Transito. We often wonder what Saint Francis, who emphasized simplicity, must think of this huge Basilica Built over his simple chapel. Regardless, it is a must if you are going to visit Assisi and get the complete story of this wonderful saint

A visitor can also see the “thornless rose bush“. When St. Francis was tempted by the Devil he reportedly rolled in the bush and it turned from a briar bush into a thornless rose bush. To this day there are no thorns on the rose bushes–but only here on this spot.

Here, also, is a statue of Saint Francis to mark the spot where he talked to the doves. To this day, white turtle doves continue to nest in this statue.

The story is told that once while Saint Francis was praying here, Jesus appeared to him and offered to grant him a request. The humble saint asked for a plenary indulgence to be granted to all who, having confessed their sins and visited the chapel. The request was granted on the condition that such an indulgence meet with the Pope’s approval. Pope Honorius III did grant the request on the condition that it only be honored one day each year: August 2nd. It is called the Pardon of Assisi “ (In Italy it is known as Il Perdoneo di Assisi).

Most tours to Assisi will include a stop here as part of the life story of Saint Francis. It is usually the first or last stop of your stay in Assisi. Be sure not to miss it!


Traveling to the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels:

If you are traveling independently by car, the Basilica is a short walk from the train station, or if you are driving you can park nearby before proceeding to the car park at the foot of Assisi.

Train service from Rome or Florence is quite frequent. Some trains are direct and some require changing trains in Foligno.

Address: Via Porziuncola, 1, 06081 Santa Maria degli Angeli PG

GPS coordinates: 43° 3′ 22.7772” N, 12° 34′ 48.9576” E

Click here for an excellent video presentation of the Basilica by Joan Lewis of “Joan’s Rome” click here

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⇐ Back to Catholic places of interest in Assisi


2 thoughts on “Porziuncola (Assisi) Italy: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels”

    • When Saint Francis had the locution to “rebuild My church” he mistakenly thought it was this little chapel that had fallen in to disrepair and began to beg for funds to rebuild it. The actual message, however, referred to the Church at large, which needed rebuilding at that time.

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