Church of St. Francis of Assisi


The facade of the church is set in the central part of the convent dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi dating back to 1585 and is, in perfect Franciscan style, a very simple building. In the upper part there is the tympanum that is surmounted by a simple cross and flanked by two lateral pilasters in white stucco. In the upper triangle of the tympanum we find the Franciscan coat of arms whose conception dates back to sec. XV and in the symbolism shows us the arm of Christ with that of St. Francis united by a single nail to signify the eternal fidelity of the Franciscan Order to the Crucified Lord. A little further down we find a window that, seen from the inside of the church, has an opaque glass window with the symbol of the cross. Going down, slightly bounded by a frame in stucco, we find a niche carved into the tuff inside which is depicted the Immaculate Conception and kneeling at his feet Saints Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, undisputed symbols of the Franciscan ascetic soul. Thus we arrive at the entrance door of the temple which is formed by a portal in fluted gray tuff with in the center the date of construction 1672. On the entrance door of the church there was once a stained glass window representing the Angel of the Annunciation and the Madonna. Moving laterally to the church we find the public clock bells and those below the ancient convent of St. Francis of Assisi made some in 1709, others in 1862 (those of the Church and the convent) and still others at different times until 1914.

Inside it has a single nave with a series of small altars, four on each side, surmounted by round arches that protect them, and each of which houses in the niches statues of Saints. In fact we find statues, especially in wood, depicting St. Francis of Assisi, the Immaculate Conception, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Anna, St. Rose of Viterbo, St. Teresa, St. Pasquale Baylon and an ancient Crucifix. At the entrance of the church there is also the precious statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii that has found hospitality here since around the 70s of the last century was deconsecrated the adjacent chapel of the Ave Maria or the Rosary. The vault of the nave is presented to It is covered with frescoes dating back to the ‘600. The central rectangular depictions show the figures of popular saints from St. Gennaro to St. Francis of Assisi surrounded by angels, while a small square reminds us also the Venerable Servant of God Sister Orsola Benincasa oriunda of Cetara and founder of the Theatine Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. On the sides, enclosed in ovals, we find scenes from the Old Testament: Adam and Eve, the Universal Flood, Job, the sacrifice of Isaac, Moses saved from the waters of the Nile, Moses who makes water flow from a rock, the tables of the Ten Commandments, the judgment of King Solomon, David and Goliath and Judith and Holofernes. While in the lateral triangles the theological virtues are highlighted.

The dome is frescoed with a heavenly empyrean in which are represented in the outer circle of Christ the Saviour, in the center, surrounded by a group of saints with St. Peter holding the keys of Heaven, St. Paul with his sword, Saint John the Baptist who has as pastoral a wooden cross, S. Francis of Assisi and S. Chiara, S. Gennaro with miter and ampoules with his blood, S. Andrea Apostolo with his cross, S. Giuseppe with the stick surmounted by a lily, S. Maria Maddalena with her flowing hair and a skull in her hands, the Madonna, S. Antonio di Padova, S. Lorenzo etc. In the central part of the dome there is the figure of God the Father on a cloud supported by angels below which there is the dove depicting the Holy Spirit paraclete. At the base of the dome, at the four ends, there are triangular plumes that, as in almost all churches, depict the four evangelists: St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. Mark and St. John. The painting located in the apse behind the High Altar that depicts a “Deposition” by the painter Marco Benincasa dated 1746.