The San Francesco Church is located in the Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno and is the center of a complex that also includes two beautiful cloisters.
Saint Francesco Church Ascoli Piceno
The address of the Chiesa di San Francesco is Via Trivio – Ascoli Piceno (tel. +39 ). Opening hours: Unknown. Entrance fee: Free.
History and Description
Although the façade of San Francesco Church is on Via Trivio, the side wall is along the central square Piazza del Popolo. It was built by the Franciscans, probably when the saint himself visited Ascoli Piceno in 1215.
A highlight of the San Francesco Church is the entrance on the Piazza del Popolo side with the monument to Pope Julius II.
The church is considered a typical example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture.
Construction began in 1238. The design was by Antonio Vipera. When the church was consecrated in 1371 it was not yet completed.
In the 16th century the cross vault was added, followed by the dome.
The church ends in seven polygonal apses, separated by two slender, hexagonal bell towers.
The main entrance is richly decorated and is flanked by two smaller entrances.
The first part of the church is divided into three naves and is rather soberly decorated. The presbytery, however, is very handsome.
Chiostro Maggiore and Chiostro Minore
The two cloisters belonging to the complex are called Chiostro Maggiore and Chiostro Minore.
Locals refer to the Chiostro Maggiore as Piazza delle Verdure since a daily fruit and vegetable market is held there. The square is characterized by 20 semi-circular arches with Corinthian columns and an octagonal well. The construction of the chiostro lasted from 1565 to 1623.
The Chiostro Minore has been around longer. It was built in the 13th century, has 22 arches and also an octagonal well, on which the maker placed his signature: “QUISTO POZIO A FACTU FARE IO JOVANNE DE PELA”.
The crucifix in the left nave is linked to the history of the city itself. Before it was placed in its present spot, it used to grace the Palazzo dei Capitani, where it miraculously survived a fire without being damaged. Later, it also shed real tears.
The pulpit of travertine marble.
The sacristy contains 18th-century cabinets, paintings and a 14th-century copper reliquary in the shape of a cross, supposedly given to the Franciscans by Pope Nicolò IV.