BY OUR ROME CORRESPONDENT
FRANCISCANS ARE ABOUT to set off on a world tour to gather funds to restore their historic Assisi monastery, and their first stop is Tokyo.
The decision to launch an international "Save Assisi" appeal follows the collapse of the monastery walls last spring and an earth tremor a month ago in this central Italian region that caused slight
The monks need "tens of millions of pounds" to restore the birthplace of their founder and Italy's patron saint, St Francis.
They are confident that a large percentage of the funds will come from Japan, which sends 2,500 organised groups of tourists a year to the sanenary.
The Italian Ministry of the Interior is to assist with the restoration programme.