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Chiesa di San Francesco

Visit an ancient church full of artistic treasures and the adjacent cloister with its mix of architectural styles.

The white stucco and modern-looking facade of the Chiesa di San Francesco masks the building’s ancient history. Founded in the first half of the eighth century as an oratory by St. Antonino, the patron saint of Sorrento, it was originally a place of private worship. In the 14th century Franciscan friars turned it into a church. It was rebuilt in 1926.

The exterior is not as ornate as some of Sorrento’s other churches, so look for San Francesco’s special details. They include the statue of the Immaculate Virgin at the top of the building and the wooden door that dates back to the 1500s.

Venture inside the church and marvel at the workmanship of the frescoes. As you pass by the side chapels, pause to study some of the church’s other works of art including paintings and a wooden statue of St. Francis and the crucified Christ. Look up at the nave’s vaulted ceiling and its Baroque stucco decorations.

Walk around the courtyard of the church’s adjacent cloister with its ornamental trees and plants that curl around the interlaced arches and snake up the stone pillars. The cloister is still in use as a residence for Franciscan monks. The building has been restored many times over the centuries; each period has left its mark. Observe the mixture of architectural styles with Gothic, Renaissance and Arabic influences.

Take the time to enjoy this serene environment. Inspect the notices posted outside the church’s gate to determine when you will want to return. Many local events are organized here. In the summer months the cloister hosts a number of free art exhibitions, and in the evenings there are often classical musical concerts in the church. The mass on Saturday evenings is often in English.

Situated near Villa Comunale park, the church and cloister are just a five-minute walk from Piazza Tasso.

Chiesa di San Francesco is open daily until the early evening, but closes for an hour around lunch time. Admission is free.


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