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Church of St. Francis of Assisi 360° virtual tour
It is an important Romanesque-Gothic church from the 13th century adorned with 14-16th century frescoes and masterpieces by Moretto and Romanino.
The church was built between 1254 and 1265 on land offered by the city of Brescia, in honor of the Saint of Assisi and in gratitude to the Franciscans who had obtained peace between the important families of the city. Over the centuries the church and the monastery were enriched with chapels and works of art that altered the primitive Franciscan simplicity. Invasion campaign of the French lead by Napoleon Bonaparte brought an end to the peaceful centuries and the monks were forced to leave their convent in 1797. The entire complex underwent a period of decline, even the library with its important manuscripts was destroyed. It was only in 1839 that the church was rebuilt in neoclassical style by the Brescian architect Rodolfo Vantini. Finally since 1928 both the church and the monastery are again used by the Franciscans who got the complex restored to its former medieval atmosphere.
2. What to see
Two-colored brickwork and a large rose window enrich the simple Romanesque facade of the church. Noteworthy is the original medieval wooden door. The interior contains three naves, divided by twelve columns supporting early Gothic arches. In 1300 the interior walls were painted to explain biblical scenes to the illiterate poor people. During the 15-16th centuries new altars were erected along the right aisle. The most important is the first one, an altarpiece by Moretto from 1530 depicting Saint Margaret of Antioch between St. Jerome and Francis of Assisi. It is also worth having a look at the fourth altar which contains a fresco of the Pentecost, a work of young Romanino. The long aisle leads to a side altar and the apse which contains the main altarpiece. It is a significant work of Romanino from 1517 depicting the Madonna and Franciscan saints. The latest addition to the church was the splendid late Baroque chapel of the Immaculate located at the middle of the left aisle.
3. When to see
We've visited the church on Sunday right after the mass (about 11am).