Assisi is a world famous tourist destination, especially for those interested in admiring important monuments connected to the history of Catholicism. One of the most well-known and visited sights in Assisi is the Basilica of San Francesco. It is so majestic and impressive that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction on the Basilica began on July 17, 1228, two years after the death of Saint Francis and the day after Pope Gregory IX declared him a saint. The Basilica was built to house the remains of one of the most famous saints in the history of Catholicism, as well as act as headquarters of the newly formed order of Franciscans.
The church is located in the spot where Saint Francis wished to be buried, where public executions took place in the middle ages. Today, the structure is composed of two churches, one on top of the other. The upper church has a Gothic appearance and is luminous and tall, while the lower one, which is entered through a Gothic doorway, is somewhat shorter and quite austere. The single-naved lower church houses some very important frescoes by Giotto and Simone Martini. Though work on the main parts of the Basilicas ended in the 13th century, there were numerous renovations made to the in following centuries. A portico was added to the lower Basilica in 1400, a stone atrium was added to the same Basilica in 1445 and the bell tower underwent some minor modifications in 1518.