After persuading the Pope to acknowledge his rule (1210), St Francis embarked on an apostolic journey, one of the stops of which was in Cortona. It was here, at Le Celle, that he established his first community, attracted by the silence and simplicity of the setting. The still-functioning Franciscan convent, comprising houses nestled into the hillside, has preserved the early oratory that received the saint's first companions. Behind the altar, the tiny cell of the Poverello, who returned here after receiving the stigmata, can still be seen.
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