Italy Assisi Basilica superiore di Assisi

Magnificent double church, the 'caput et mater' (literally head and mother) of the Franciscan Order. Commissioned by Pope Gregory IX to house the relics of St Francis, which were translated here in 1230. In 1820 Pope Pius VII confirmed the authenticity of the newly-discovered relics of St Francis below the high altar of the Lower Church; present crypt carved out of the rock here soon after. Upper and Lower Churches, which are open for visits, house some to some of the finest Italian art of the late 13th and early 14th centuries; crypt also open for veneration of sarcophagus of St Francis