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Church of St Francis of Assisi

What to see in Gerace, Reggio Calabria, Calabria


the church of San Francesco d'Assisi of Gerace is regarded as the most important example of gothic architecture in Calabria. The church, built in 1252 on the ruins of a pre-existing Romanesque building, with a nave and was part of an ancient convent, founded in the early years of the XIII century by Daniele, companion of Saint Francis, and of which remains only the well and a part of the cloister. Similarly to what has happened to the cathedral of the ancient village, the important religious building in the course of the centuries has experienced periods of greatness and splendour alternated with dark ages, revocation and destruction. With the coming of the French in 1806 the friars of the adjacent convent, fearing the confiscation of goods, took away all the works and the goods present in it, impoverishing and dispersing so the enormous and rich artistic heritage of the Church. Between 1806 and 1897 the church was used as a prison and suffered enormous damage. With the closure of the prison, the building remained empty and deprived of its function as a place of worship, hosted a mill, a crusher and homes for civil use.

The main facade, on which opens an imposing gothic portal to acute arc with triple archivolt decorated with inspiration Arab-norman, is also enriched by a monadatura, from various capitals and a swastika depicting the sun that, in eastern symbology, represents the eternity. The interior of the church, while presenting a sober and unadorned, preserves important elements of art and architecture such as the high altar seventeenth-century polychrome marble inlaid, the triumphal arch of 1664 in baroque style and decorated with inlaid in marble poilicromi, work of the friar geracese Bonaventura Perna, and funeral sarcophagus of 1372 of the warrior Nicola Ruffo, work performed by a disciple of the Sienese sculptor Tino da Camaino, on which oversee Santa Maria de Jesu flanked at the sides by two angels and saints Peter, Elena, Caterina and Paul. Between the meager remains of the ancient chapel of Santa Maria de Jesu, adjacent to the church, remain a romanesque sarcophagus anepigrafo and some remains of two gothic columns. The long restoration works have allowed us to bring to light parts of the monastery of the Conventual Friars and a wing of the cloister.

  • Via Nazario Sauro, 23, Gerace (Reggio Calabria)
  • Religious location
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