The places of Basilica

Construction of the Lower Church of the Basilica of Saint Francis was started in 1228 and completed by May 25, 1230, at which time the body of the saint was solemnly transferred there. Traditionally the project has been attributed to Friar Elias, to Lapo or Jacopo Tedesco, to Friar John of Penna and/or to Friar Philip of Campello.

The nave recalls the Romanesque style and resembles an arcade or tunnel formed by the imposing ribs of the arches. Above the main altar is a cross vault, adorned by the work of Giotto and his workshop (1315 -- one of the most well-known artistic treasures found in the Basilica. These four vaults of Giotto depict the three religious vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, as well as a glorious Saint Francis in diaconal vestments.

In addition to the work of Giotto, who is also responsible for the frescoes found in the side Chapel of the Magdalene, the lower church is decorated with the fresco work of Cimabue, Lorenzetti, Sermei and the anonymous Umbrian artist, who has been given the title, the "Master of St. Francis".