San Francesco d’Assisi

4 Oct

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. He lived from 1182 – 1226, and during his lifetime, founded several orders including the men’s Order of Friars Minor and the women’s Order of Saint Clare. He was canonized on July 16, 1228, by Pope Gregory IX. He, along with Saint Catherine of Siena, are the patron saints of Italy.

The feast of St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated today, October 4. Throughout Italy, and in particular the central parts of Italy where St. Francis lived, there are many celebrations in his honor. Unlike so many of the gold and ornate churches and monasteries, those of St. Francis tend to be simple in design and without pretense.

Chiesa di San Francesco, Cortona, ©Blogginginitaly.com

Chiesa di San Francesco, Cortona, ©Blogginginitaly.com

From our front door, it is 115 steps, mostly up, to San Francesco in Cortona, and it is well worth the climb. The sparse interior holds many treasures and is our favorite among Cortona churches.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

According to Cortona history, the Church was built over the ruins of a Roman bath. The area, which was a municipal property, had been donated to Friar Elia, Francis’ successor, who had the church built in honor of St. Francis. The facade, the large door, and the entire left wall are part of the original church which was dedicated in 1254. Friar Elia is buried in the choir area behind the altar.

The interior underwent renovations in the 16th and 17th centuries. During that time, several incredible original frescoes from the school of Buffalmacco, dating back to 1382, were rediscovered behind paintings.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

On the altar, in a large marble baroque tabernacle dating from 1619, is a relic from the Holy Cross, donated to Friar Elia by the Constantine Emperor.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

And finally, to the left of the main altar is the statue of St. Francis and some items as described below.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As I write, the bells from the church are ringing. Three of the five are electric, but of the original two, one was cast in 1250 and the second in 1267.

In addition to this beautiful church, Cortona is home to Le Celle, an incredible monastery and sanctuary which developed both during and after St. Francis’ life.

It is here that you can see the room, or cell, where St. Francis slept.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Every time I visit either the San Francesco Church or Le Celle, I find myself caught up in the tranquility each has to offer. And while Cortona can sometimes be a bustling town, each of these remains an oasis of serenity – a wonderful place to reflect, meditate, pray, or simply take in the moment.

For more on Le Celle, click on a previous post: Franciscan Hermitage of Le Celle, Cortona.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

14 Responses to “San Francesco d’Assisi”

  1. Connelly, Vincent J. October 4, 2016 at 1:53 PM #

    Some Saints are a little peculiar and some Saints have greater fan bases than others, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like St. Francis
    Vincent J. Connelly

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly October 4, 2016 at 2:10 PM #

      I think you are right – even a friend of all animals and the environment.

      Like

  2. Jean Mathieson-Guest October 4, 2016 at 3:10 PM #

    Looks like it is still lovely weather. So many relics in Italy. I didn’t know there was one in Cortona.
    A good friend of ours lectures in Turin on the Shroud every year – that picture everyone is familiar with is his.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Royce Larsen October 4, 2016 at 7:21 PM #

    As usual the photography was outstanding

    Amazing how much there is in your town

    Speaks wonders for Italy and its presenters

    Thank you

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly October 5, 2016 at 2:53 AM #

      Besides the religious history, you would love all the Etruscan history here. We have an amazing Etruscan museum as well. So very much for a small town indeed!

      Like

  4. Shelli Davis Isen October 4, 2016 at 9:59 PM #

    The magnitude and serenity of the Celle make it the most spiritual place Bill and I have ever visited. Even after several trips, we find it peaceful and awe-inspiring. Church of St. Francis was a fascinating piece of religious history.

    Like

    • blogginginitaly October 5, 2016 at 5:15 AM #

      Shelli, peaceful and awe-inspiring, such fitting descriptions.Thanks.

      Like

  5. Florence Larsen October 4, 2016 at 10:40 PM #

    Love this- and memories of Le Celle! Xo

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly October 5, 2016 at 2:55 AM #

      We so love sharing both of these with our visitors – so happy you were among them! o

      Like

  6. Ted Walker October 5, 2016 at 12:36 AM #

    I have said my rosary many times in that church (once I regained my breath from climbing the hill and the stairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly October 5, 2016 at 2:56 AM #

      I know, it never seems to get easy, but it’s out go-to Church for all the candle lighting we do here.

      Like

  7. Dominic Mosca October 13, 2016 at 10:16 AM #

    Great information

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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