Outside the ancient walls, 4 kilometers from the centre, stands the majestic and beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built between 1565 and 1685 and designed by Galeazzo Alessi. The little chapel of the Porziuncola (the small plot of land where the small church was licensed for use by the Benedictines to St. Francis and his first companions) is preserved on its inside. The chapel has a simple rib vault, on the façade there is a fresco of F. Overbek representing the Forgiveness of Assisi of 1829; inside the wall of the altar there is a table, by priest Ilario da Viterbo (1393) representing the Annunciation and scenes associated with the granting of Forgiveness. Outside the building there is a fresco by Pietro Perugino depicting the Crucifixion (1486). Not far from there is the Little Chapel of the Transit, where Francis died on October 3, 1226. From the Basilica you can access the famous Roseto without thorns and the Chapel of the Roses with frescos by Tiberio of Assisi (1516); the premises of the thirteenth-century convent houses the Museum of the Porziuncola. An elegant dome 79 meters high, stands on an octagonal drum, onto which large windows with gables and alternating lunettes.
Interior: The Basilica, a Latin cross structure, is 126 meters long and 65 meters wide. The interior of the basilica, with three naves, has a simple and essential style. This is because of the great emphasis on the fact that it contains the most important work of art: the Porziuncola.
Transit: Also inside the Basilica is a chapel. It was originally the convent infirmary, its fame is due to the fact that, in this place, St. Francis died on 3 October 1226. On the same place, the Umbrian saint finished composing the Canticle of Creatures. To celebrate these events, in 1886, Domenico Bruschi created frescoes depicting the death of St. Francis and his funeral. There are also more frescoes depicting saints and blessed Franciscans, done by a student of Perugino: Giovanni di Pietro, called Spagna. In a reliquary is kept the cord of St. Francis, a gift from Pope Pius IX to brotherhood.
The Rose Garden: In a wing of the Basilica is preserved the rose garden. This place is famous for an incident involving St. Francis: one night, in fact, the Holy One, taken by strong doubts, and from sin’s guilt, he rolled naked in the thorny rose garden. This rose garden, according to tradition, upon contact with the Saint’s body, lost all the thorns so as not to cause him any harm. Even today, the rose bush blooms without thorns.