The Convent of San Damiano e le Sue Clarisse is one of the most important sites in Assisi, since it is here that the story of St. Francis began when the Christ on the cross he was praying for suddenly came to life and told him to “Rebuild my church.” It is a much more austere church than the Basilica of St. Francis and it is located in a quiet spot a little outside the city.
San Damiano Convent Assisi
Address, opening hours and admission price.
Opening hours: Summertime: 10.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 18.00. During winter time the complex closes at 16.30. (Note that only part of the monastery can be visited.) Closed: Never. Entrance fee: Free. Telephone: +39 075812273. Address: Via San Damiano, Assisi.
History and description
Descending the stairs from the refectory where Santa Chiara died, one arrives at the grotto where Saint Francis hid from his father as the latter tried to prevent his conversion. In 1205 the miracle of the speaking Christ took place here and later St. Francis would also write his Cantico delle Creature here.
Santa Chiara founded her Order of the Clares here. The order was also housed here from 1212 to 1253. For much of her life, she herself served as its abbess and would eventually die in the monastery. She was later buried in the Basilica di Santa Chiara, which was named after herself.
The little garden of the monastery is also known as the “flower bed of the glorification of the created” (which, don’t be afraid, sounds way less pompous in Italian).
One part of the monastery, namely the original oratory, was built by St. Francis with his own hands.