Nocera Umbra

Church of St. Francis

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Corso Cavour 126 - 06034 Foligno
The fifteenth-century Church of St. Francis overlooking the square Caprera, in the upper part of the ancient town of Nocera Umbra, and the Art Gallery and Museum are located inside.

Currently the Church has a single nave, with five robust arches slightly archiacuti that mark the bays and a polygonal apse. The roof of the nave, sloping, is supported by large arches; the apse has instead the cover basin consists of a domed scratch. The access to the Church is inserted along the side wall that projects on the square, so that the main front is spread throughout the length of the Church. The sober facade is made of stone square with two portals of access, the main one in the Gothic style marble architrave and an annexe, with arched fanlight above; about two-thirds of the height is placed a simple stone frame and above this opens an elegant lancet. The secondary door and the lancet, Romanesque, probably belong to the primitive church. The interior contains a series of frescoes by Matteo da Gualdo and local painters, more frescos dating back to periods ranging from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century are the remaining walls of the Church. There are many art works placed in it coming from a variety of Umbria Churches and numerous archaeological finds. The original layout of the Church of San Frances dates back to the fourteenth century, when the Franciscans obtained by the Pope John XXIII freedom to build a convent in the city. They chose to occupy and expand later a small oratory located in Piazza del Comune (as it was called at that time).
The first extension works were definitely made by the end of the century, as evidenced by a plaque placed on the left of the Gothic portal. The work probably led to a different orientation of the church (with the altar to the north) and to an area equal to twice the preexisting. Throughout the fifteenth century were made works inside the ecclesiastical building, thanks to  many donations by the inhabitants of Nocera Umbra. In 1494 a further major restructuring began, including the raising of the wall towards the square and the construction of the interior arches. In 1500 the bell tower was added to the church, located at the left of the apse, a square with the belfry has four essential mullioned windows. The Church was the site of the Franciscan order until the Napoleonic suppression (1809) and the public concession of property belonging to the Papal State. In 1914 the Superintendent of Umbria Monuments launched a project for   the building’s transformation, already in poor condition, in the picture gallery. The beginning of the war put an end to the initiative and the Church continued its decline that lasted throughout the first half of the century. Finally, in the 50s the Art Gallery was built and became accessible, but in 1979 it already needed consolidation and was therefore closed. The necessary work began in 1981 and in 1996 it was finally open, allowing the public to admire significant works of art of the Umbrian cultural heritage.