Basilica of St. Clare (Basilica di Santa Chiara)
With its bold pink-and-white marble stripes, huge flying buttresses, and immense rose window, the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi is one of the most significant architectural and religious sites in Assisi, and a highlight of walking tours of this medieval hill town. After Saint Clare’s death in 1260, she was buried under the church’s high altar. Discovered again in 1850, her remains were eventually moved to a shrine in a newly built crypt beneath the basilica, where they are still on display.
Explore the church along with the city’s Franciscan sights—including Chiesa Nuova, the Cathedral of San Rufino, and the Basilica of Saint Francis—on a day trip from Rome or Florence, which often also include stops in other nearby towns like Cortona, Perugia, and Orvieto, and along Lake Trasimeno.
Recent reviews from experiences in Assisi
Things to know before you go
- Walking tours of Assisi require tackling the historic center’s steep medieval lanes, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
- The ground floor of the church is accessible to wheelchairs via a side entrance; the crypt and relic hall are not accessible.
- The Basilica di Santa Chiara is an important pilgrimage site, requiring modest clothing and solemn decorum.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside the church.
How to get there
The Basilica di Santa Chiara is located in Piazza Santa Chiara at the bottom of the main Corso Giuseppe Mazzini thoroughfare. Assisi is an important pilgrimage destination with direct trains from Rome and Florence.
When to get there
Each year in early May, Assisi holds an important medieval festival with costumed pageants, historical music concerts, and games from the Middle Ages. Visit during the festival to experience the raucous atmosphere, or on the feast day of Saint Francis (October 4th) to enjoy its solemn air.
The Art and Architecture of the Basilica di Santa Chiara
The horizontal stripes of pink-and-white stone and soaring campanile, the tallest in Assisi, can be seen from as far as the valley below Assisi. Inside, instead, the basilica is much more understated, with walls whitewashed in the 1600s to cover almost all the original 13th- and 14th-century frescoes that were visible until the 17th century. An important sacred highlight is located in a small chapel off the nave: the 12th-century crucifix that is said to have spoken to Saint Francis of Assisi.
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