The places of Basilica

The collection of the 'Treasure of the Basilica' was started in 1230, with the first precious gifts received on the occasion of the solemn 'translation' of the body of Saint Francis into the Basilica. Kept for centuries in a secret room at the base of the bell tower, it has been constantly grown in size due to gifts from pontiffs and rulers. It also, however, has suffered dispersions and pillagings, the most important of which was the plundering of 1798 by Napoleonic troops. In 1929, after the return of the Convent to the friars, the collection was set up and exhibited to the public in the current papal hall. In 1977 it was moved to the Gothic hall of the old Papal Palace, on the second level of the Cloister of Sistus IV.

It currently houses some one hundred works, including a 'Chalice by Guccio of Mannaia', which was a gift from the first Franciscan pope, Nicholas IV; the 'Missal of Saint Louis IX'; and a Flemish tapestry which depicts 'the Franciscan Tree'. It also houses the 'Perkins Collection', a gift from the art historian Frederick Mason Perkins (1955), consisting of about fifty paintings (secc. XIV-XVI), including works by Pietro Lorenzetti, Lorenzo Monaco, and Sassetta. The museum also has an area dedicated to music, with musical instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries.