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Royal Basilica of Saint Francis the Great

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

C. San Buenaventura, 1, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis in Arezzo during the early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid the crowds and witness the sunlight casting a heavenly glow on Piero della Francesca’s fresco series. Also, ask local staff about the lesser-known rooftop access; it offers a unique panorama of Tuscany few tourists get to see."

What is the Basilica of Saint Francis?

Imagine stepping into a place where art meets devotion, a sanctuary that has stood for centuries as a testament to faith and creativity. The Basilica of Saint Francis in Arezzo is exactly that—a spiritual and artistic haven nestled in the heart of Tuscany. Known locally as Basilica di San Francesco, it's an unassuming treasure, with its most prized possession being the magnificent frescoes by Piero della Francesca, depicting the Legend of the True Cross. The basilica is not only a place of worship but also a gallery that holds one of the most significant Renaissance artworks in Italy.

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History of the Basilica of Saint Francis

The tale of the Basilica of Saint Francis is as rich and layered as the frescoes adorning its walls. The church's origins trace back to the 13th century when it was first constructed. However, much of its current form dates to the 14th and 15th centuries when significant additions and renovations were carried out. The history is marked by the contribution of Mendicant Orders, which played a crucial role in the spread of religious and artistic expression during medieval times. The church's affiliation with Saint Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan order lends it an air of sanctity and a deeply rooted place in religious history.

Over time, the basilica has seen the ebb and flow of fortune, bearing witness to wars, social changes, and cultural revolutions. Piero della Francesca’s masterpiece, the Bacci Chapel fresco cycle, was commissioned in the 1450s, elevating the basilica's importance. Despite being covered over in the 18th century, the frescoes were rediscovered in the 19th century, and restorers have since worked meticulously to return them to their original splendor.

Why is the Basilica of Saint Francis Important?

The Basilica of Saint Francis stands as a monument of immense historical, cultural, and spiritual importance. At its core, the basilica's significance lies in its encapsulation of the human spirit's aspirations—through religion, through art, and through communal identity. Specifically, the frescoes by Piero della Francesca inside the Bacci Chapel are considered one of the pinnacles of Renaissance art, showcasing advancements in perspective and color that were groundbreaking at their time. Their influence can't be overstated, as they have inspired countless artists and captivated art enthusiasts throughout the centuries.

But beyond the walls adorned with frescoes, the basilica is important for the local community. It's been a constant through centuries of change, a place where people have come to find solace, celebrate their most joyous occasions, and mark the passage of time. It continues to be an active place of worship, integrating daily life with the extraordinary legacy of art and history it houses.

Things to Do & See at the Basilica of Saint Francis

Visiting the Basilica of Saint Francis is about embracing both history and present. First and foremost, you must see the Bacci Chapel, where Piero della Francesca’s frescoes tell the Legend of the True Cross in a cycle of mesmerizing images. To truly appreciate this masterpiece, take a moment to contemplate the details—note how light and shadow play across the figures, breathe in the depth of the landscapes, and let the narrative unfold before your eyes.

Once you've taken in the grandeur of the frescoes, explore the nooks and corners of the basilica. Each chapel has its own story, with unique pieces of art and memorials that evoke the centuries of devotion enshrined here. Take time to attend a service if you can—the ambiance of liturgical chants and the community gathered in prayer adds another layer of experience to your visit. Additionally, simply wander the basilica's surroundings; Arezzo's undulating landscape and medieval architecture provide a perfect backdrop to reflect on your encounter with the timeless.

Lastly, don't miss the opportunity to drop by the crypt and the small museum, housing relics and artefacts that enhance the narrative of the basilica's importance. Gazing at these objects, you'll feel the pulse of history and the continuity of a tradition that has been kept alive through the ages. Remember, a visit to the Basilica of Saint Francis is more than just a tour; it's a pilgrimage through art and belief, a walk through history, and a personal journey that resonates differently with every soul that passes through its doors.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo)?

The Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo) is a historic church located in Arezzo, Tuscany, that is renowned for its architecture and art, including the famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca.

What are the famous frescoes in the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo)?

The most famous frescoes in the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo) are the 'Legend of the True Cross' painted by the Italian Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca.

What is the history of the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo)?

The history of the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo) dates back to the 13th century when it was built by Franciscans. It became famous over time, particularly for housing the 'Legend of the True Cross' frescoes.

When is the best time to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo)?

The best time to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo) is during spring or fall when Tuscany generally has mild weather and the tourist crowds are smaller compared to the summer months.

Are there any special tips for visiting the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo)?

When visiting the Basilica of Saint Francis (Arezzo), it is recommended to check the opening hours in advance, dress modestly out of respect for the place of worship, and consider hiring a guide to fully appreciate the art and history of the frescoes.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

C. San Buenaventura, 1, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps