Together with the city’s Cathedral, the Chiesa di San Francesco is the most important church of Chieti. It was constructed in the 13th century, and is located in the main street Corso Marruccino, where it replaced an earlier existing church.
Church of San Francesco al Corso Chieti
Address: Corso Marrucino, 21 – 66100 Chieti. Phone: +39 087 1346220. Opening times: N/A. Ticket price: Free. (Note that opening times and admission may be subject to change.)
History and description
The San Francesco Church was constructed in 1239. The building replaces an earlier church, dedicated to San Lorenzo.
Of its early 14th century brick facade, the rose window remains.
In 1689, a complete restoration started.
Toward the end of the 19th century, after the Corso Marrucino had been lowered, the facade of the church needed to be adapted. This led to the construction of the double staircase by Torquato Scaraviglia.
In 1933, the interior was damaged in a a fire. The earthquake of 2009 caused damage to the entire church.
The Chiesa di San Francesco al Corso has a Latin cross floor plan. The single nave is flanked by five deep side chapels on each side. The chapels are decorated with stucco ornaments.
What to see
The perfectly hemispherical dome is decorated with trompe l’oeil frescoes. The light entering the church through the roof lantern illuminates the main altar.
The Cappella dell’Immacolata Concezione (3rd left) is decorated with frescoes by Donato Teodoro.
The Chapel of Santa Caterina Vigri da Bologna (2nd left) has three paintings by Ercole Graziani.
The 5th chapel on the left is dedicated to the Venetian Nation. It contains a painting by the local painter G.B. Spinelli, “Madonna and Child with Angels and Saints” (1641). Spinelli was born in the Palazzo Sirolli on the Piazza San Giustino.
The 18th century pulpit is the work of the woodcutter Modesto Salvini.
The two statues adorning the facade are leftovers from the original San Domenico Church. They depict San Tommaso d’Aquino and Sant’Antonio da Firenze.