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S. Francesco di Leonessa: The Interior


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Central nave and side aisles, octagonal piers separating them. All grey stone, but subjected to a yellow wash in the recent restorations, to hide ten years of stains due to a leaky roof after the 1979 earthquake.


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Unlike some sacristies where the visitor fortunate enough to gain access can see the most spectacular works of art, the sacristy of S. Francesco is nothing much: a rectangular space about the size of a high-ceilinged living-room with a 16c fresco at one end. My interest was piqued, however, by two saints I'd never heard of. I'm better informed now, and give you the saints with the wall paintings.


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The great treasure of the church by my lights is the door, dated 1352, of the demolished church of S. Maria extra Moenia, which someone had the good sense to rescue and preserve here.


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S. Francesco also houses a wonderful early 16c terracotta Nativity which has become even more famous by being featured on a postage stamp for Christmas 1997.

A few other sights in this large church are more easily taken in; just one photo of each will do the job:


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This fairly standard depiction of the Trinity is attributed by some to the blessed Domenico of Leonessa; on what grounds, I don't know. Early 15c at any rate.


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Exuberant baroque ceiling of the Cappella del Crocifisso,
a chapel off the N aisle.


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Page updated: 6 Jul 04

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