Church and Convent of Saint Francis

Old Town

Church and Convent of Saint Francis

late 13th and early 14th century

The church was built between the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century, apparently following a miracle of St. Francis, near the place where there was an oratory dedicated to the Trinity, and was always officiated by the Franciscan friars.
Starting from the early 16th century, the building underwent several restoration interventions that completely modified its appearance. In 1959, a complete restoration was carried out by the Superintendency for Architectural Heritage in Lazio, bringing the construction back to a greater coherence with the original project.
The church features a notable coexistence of Gothic and Romanesque elements, with Gothic styles being particularly present inside and Romanesque elements predominantly found on the facade.
The division of the facade into three sections corresponds to the interior’s three aisles. In the central section, higher than the others, is the main portal, consisting of four concentric and recessed ogival arches, of clear Gothic origin, surmounted by a rose window still clearly decorated in the Romanesque style.
The two lateral sections are topped by Lombard arches: a notable detail is the first six arches on the right side, which are the only ones with pointed arches.
The bell tower was built in 1612, apparently replacing a previous slender bell tower, probably with three bells.
The interior is divided into three aisles of five bays each, with the central ones double the width of the lateral ones, and a transept slightly raised with three apses at the end.
On the right side there are five chapels, added between the 15th and 16th centuries: the chapel of Blessed John of Triora, the chapel of the Immaculate, the chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, the chapel of the Nativity, and the chapel of the Fallen, the most recent one.
Regarding the convent, whose premises housed the Scientific High School ‘Galileo Galilei’ until the late 1970s and now hosts the friars of the Immaculate, noteworthy are the Renaissance cloister and the well in the garden.

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Photography by: César Vásquez Altamirano, Tiziano Crescia, Roberto Romano, Sailko Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, Paolo Monti

Translations by Ylenia Marcucci e Alessandro Rotatori