The sites of Francis
The church, previously a Franciscan convent, expresses the spirituality of the 13th century
It is the main Franciscan church in the Volterra area.
The old church, an admirable example of the traditional and simple architecture adopted by the Begging Orders, was built a few years after the preaching of the Assisi Saint, at the edges of the ancient medieval village.
It is a large church with one aisle ending with three choral chapels; around it there were the monastery buildings, that grew in size over the centuries but today have become private houses.
The church of San Francesco is typical architecturally of the Franciscan churches, focused on simplicity, and also for the location, on the borders of the medieval urban area. The interior, consisting of only one nave, is remarkable for the sobriety of the shapes, typical aspect of the Franciscan Order that even through architecture, expressed the message of their founder.
At the beginning of the 1300s a Gothic-style chapel was built, called Chapel of the Cross, that was decorated in 1410 by Cenni di Ser Cenni from Florence with the largest and better preserved series of frescoes.
In a room next to the church there is a group of four figures, almost life-size, in enamel coloured terracotta by the local artist Zaccaria Zacchi.
Hidden corners: Porta San Francesco
The colors of the Middle Ages, the ancient frescos appear and amaze you
The Porta San Francesco is one of the main access of medieval Volterra. It was built during the erection of the most recent city walls, dating back to the 13th century, planned by the Municipality of Volterra.
In the past, this gate had a different name and was known as Porta Santo Stefano or Porta Pisana. Out of all the gates of Volterra, it is the only one still keeping the traces of frescos on the internal arch.