HOUSE WHERE SAINT FRANCIS WAS BORN, House Where Saint Francis Was Born

Audio File length: 2.21
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Jill, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: the house where Saint Francis was born.

Outside of Saint Francis’s birthplace, in a charming, inviting little square, you can see a modern bronze sculpture of the saint’s parents.

Opposite it, there is the seventeenth-century facade of the Chiesa Nuova, or “new church”. Bear with me, and listen to the translation of the phrase in Latin at the top of the portal, which reads: “The house of Francis’s parents has become a temple of God, while the prison where he was locked up by his father is still visible”.

After all the medieval monuments you’ve visited until now, you might find this building a little disorienting: there are no rose windows, no lions guarding the door and no stone walls; instead, what you can see is a striking facade, with the solemn, monumental appearance typical of Renaissance architecture. When you enter the church, you’ll discover it was built on top of what was traditionally believed to be the home of Bernardone and Pica, Francis’s parents.

The interior is also very different from the long, narrow churches you’ve seen until now: this one has a cross-shaped floor plan, with four identical arms, and is topped with a large cupola.

Near the first pillar on the left, you’ll find the place where Bernardone is said to have chained his rebellious son, in the hope of swaying him away from the life of penance and dedication to the poor he had chosen and back to his father’s profession as a merchant. Inside this sort of prison, you can also see a wooden statue of the saint at prayer.

It was Francis’s mother who broke the chains and set him free: she had understood that her son was not mad, but had merely fallen in love with more genuine values than the selfish quest for wealth his father had envisioned.


Let me leave you with an interesting fact: the nearby oratory calledSan Francesco Piccolino” (little Saint Francis) is believed to be the place where the saint’s mother gave birth to him. Outside the portal there is another phrase in Latin: "This oratory was the stall of the ox and the donkey that was the birthplace of Saint Francis, the mirror of the world”.

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