Gubbio

Church of Saint Francis in Gubbio

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The monumental church of Saint Francis is on the southern side of Quaranta Martiri square, in the lower part of the city of Gubbio

It was built around 1255 inside a vast Franciscan complex built by the residents of Gubbio on the lands of the ancient Spadalonga family. This family is said to have taken in and clothed Saint Francis in 1206-1207, after he had abandoned the family home and renounced his wealth, and it was here that the saint wore a habit for the first time, which was to become the outfit of the Franciscans.  
Giacomello Spadalunga of Gubbio, 'he who once was his friend' as the biographer writes, met Francis in the prison of Perugia, after the defeat of Collestrada. The construction of a great church and convent dedicated to Francis, just a few years after his death, was greatly desired by the city of Gubbio, which had taken him in and adopted him.
The building features an ogival layout, with an incomplete facade that nevertheless still presents a beautiful Gothic doorway and a cornice with suspended frames topped with a small rosette. The three apses follow a polygonal structure interrupted by mullioned windows.

The interior is subdivided into three naves supported by 14 tall columns with octagonal bases. The cross vaults of the ceiling date from the transformation of the building in the 18th century. The lateral walls, which were originally covered in frescoes, have lost part of their splendour, but the apses still feature important works of the 13th-15th centuries.

The left apse features the Stories from the life of the Virgin, over 17 panels, a highly regarded piece of art from the first years of the 15th century, created by Ottaviano Nelli.  
The central apse, in the top section, features a fresco of Jesus on the Throne with Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Francis and Saint Anthony at his side, works created by a local follower of the Master of Saint Francis during the second half of the 13th century.
The right apse, next to which stand the ancient ruins of the Storehouse, features frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries: in the top part, two episodes of the life of Saint Francis,; in the bottom centre, the Saviour; and on the sides, the Evangelists, between cornices.  On the walls are frescoes of Saints.