Church of San Francesco - Amelia

Church of San Francesco - Amelia

In 1287 Brother Bartolomeo of Amelia founded the church of San Francesco, initially dedicated to Saints Filippo and Giacomo, according to the chronicles of the time. Its construction, between 1401 and 1406, was overseen by the Umbrian Masters Menucci of Amelia and Giovanni Di Nicola of Castel dell'Aquila. 

In 1447 the masters Francesco and Guglielmo di Lombardia erected the bell tower. The square stone masonry is visible inside the bell tower, while outside it shows a masonry facing over a rubble core, probably from the eighteenth century. Between 1500 and 1600 the church was renovated to build the chancel; arches were erected that blocked a chapel, now deconsecrated. The light sources in the apse and in the hall were remade at that time.

In the 18th century the church underwent rebuilding and the windows were raised higher than the eaves-line of the original crowning. In 1942 the Salesians ordered further renovation, when the convent was transformed into a boarding school.

The exterior of the church maintains its late Romanesque appearance, with Gothic influences, especially along the sides and in the apse wall. The façade, the work of the local master stonemasons, is of simple and harmonious workmanship in finely worked travertine ashlars, dating back to 1401. It is divided into two sections by a serrated frame; in the upper part there is a double concentric rose window and attic frame with a lobed arches motif, which form the cusp. In the lower part there is the portal composed of elements inserted in successive reworkings (both the rose window and the portal would belong to the original thirteenth-century building). The bell tower, which collapsed after the 1915 earthquake, was rebuilt in 1932 to a design by engineer Gioacchino Santori.

The interior, in the shape of a Latin cross, with its vaguely Baroque lines, was renovated in 1767. Of note, on the right hand side, is the chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony (bythe Lombard Antonio Pini), which has maintained its original 15th century appearance and the six sepulchres of the noble Geraldini family, including the Sepulchre of Matteo and Elisabetta, a monumental work by Agostino di Duccio (1477).

Note the beautiful eighteenth-century facade of the organ placed in the choir, above the entrance portal; the original mechanics were replaced in the fifties. In the entrance, on the left, within the staircase leading to the choir, a beautiful portion of a medieval fresco has recently emerged.

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