san_damiano2The old Benedictine priory, S. Damiano has been documented since 1030. With the departure of the monks, the church fell into disrepair, however, and in this situation he found it in 1205, the young Francis, son of the merchant Pietro di Bernardone, who embraced a life of penitents, devoted himself to the restoration of the material building. In 1212, Brother Francis brought Clare of the Offreducci and her sister Agnes, who founded a monastery of the Poor Ladies. With the death of Chiara in 1253, the Damianites ceded the monastery to the canons of the Cathedral, in exchange for the hospital of St. George. The appearance of the church dates back mostly to the changes made in the thirteenth century, when St. Francis and St. Clare were living. In the apse there is a painting of the Madonna and Child with Saints Damiano and Rufino, dating from the last decades of the 1200s when the church returned momentarily to the canons of San Rufino.
San Damiano is a group of asymmetric buildings united by a simple porch. At the arch that preludes the altar there is a copy of the crucifix that ordered Francis to repair his house. The original is kept in the Basilica of St. Clare, Choir of St. Clare (Basilica di S. Chiara, Coretto di S. Chiara) Place of religious prayer. There is also the Oratory of St. Clare and the dormitory, where the Saint died in 1253. The Refectory (Il Refettorio). Here you can find the antique tables of the time, and the place where Saint Clare used to sit. The vaults, the blackened walls, the floor in their simplicity and sparsity remain irreplaceable religious and historical values. On the upper floor is the infirmary of Saint Clare. In the nuns’ dormitories there is a cross on the wall that marks the spot where Santa Chiara died.