The structure of the Basilica of St. Clare
The structure of the Basilica of Santa Chiara is similar to the Upper Basilica of San Francesco, but smaller. Outside, the sturdy flying buttresses, which can be clearly seen along the left wall (and are also present on the right one but hidden by the monastery building), give the Basilica a very particular appearance. The simple façade, like the whole body of the Basilica, has horizontal white and pink bands in Mount Subasio stone.
Inside on the right is the Chapel of San Giorgio (St. George) where the Crucifix from San Damiano is preserved, with frescoes by Puccio Capanna and other artists from the schools of Giotto and Lorenzetti, while on the left wall towards the presbytery is the Chapel of Sant’Agnese (St. Agnes), which contains the Very Holy Sacrament.
Over the high altar is the large Crucifix, attributed to the so-called “Master of Santa Chiara”, who also painted the panels in the transept: the Panel of St. Clare, in which the saint is shown in the centre surrounded by scenes of her life; and the Byzantine-style Panel of the Madonna of the Curtain. Also in the transept is a precious 14th-century fresco showing the Nativity.
Above the altar in the cross vault there are other frescoes, which remind us of the bays in the lower Church of the Basilica of San Francesco. The saint’s mortal spoils are preserved in the crypt, which was built in the second half of the 19th century and restructured in 1934 in Neo-Gothic form.