The places of Basilica

Consecrated with the papal Basilica by Innocent IV in 1253, the 'Sacro Convento' (Sacred Convent) is characterized by a complex and difficult-to-document construction history. From 1639 to 1653 Friar Giuseppe da Copertino (St. Joseph Cupertino) lived here, forced to do so according to the orders of Rome's Holy Office, during which time the saint's 'ecstasies' were being investigated. In Napoleonic times the large friary was plundered (1798). Similarly, after the Unity of Italy and the suppression of religious orders in 1875, it became the seat of the National Council for the Orphans of Elementary Teachers. It was not until 1927 that the Sacro Convento was returned to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. In 2000 this monumental Franciscan complex, consisting of the Basilica of Saint Francis and the Sacro Convento was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

All its walls were constructed with the typical pink limestone of Mount Subasio. In the sunlight the complex appears illuminated in pink; while in the moonlight it appears cloaked in white. It is surrounded in the southwest by a vegetable garden and olive grove and to the north by an ancient forest. Cooperating with an initiative by the Italian Environment Fund (FAI), the Custody of the Sacred Convent has allowed the opening of a stretch of path that runs from the north side of the Upper Square of the Basilica of Saint Francis, descending through the forest, which is now called the "Bosco di San Francesco" (Forest of Saint Francis).