The Basilica of San Francesco alla Rocca is located in the historic center of Viterbo. Two popes are buried in this church.
San Francesco alla Rocca Basilica Viterbo
Address, Opening Hours and Admission Price
The address of the Basilica di San Francesco alla Rocca is Piazza San Francesco, 4 – Viterbo (tel. +39 0761341696). Admission is free. Opening hours: Unknown.
History and description
The San Francesco Church and its convent were built in the 13th century. Previously, the site was home to an ancient Lombard castle called Castello di Sonza, which was named for a small river running past it.
In 1159 the castle was sold by one Faruffo di Fara to the canonists of the Sant’Angelo Church, and in 1235 Pope Gregory IX gave the land to the Franciscan canons, who, in the space of one year, built a temple in honor of St. Francis himself.
After World War II, the church had to be restored and even partially rebuilt due to the damage caused by bombing. During this restoration, it was decided to restore the changes made by earlier, Baroque restorations and to return the church to its original, Romanesque-Gothic state.
The 14th century frescoes, which used to decorate the interior, have been lost.
What to see
One of the most interesting aspects of the interior of the San Francesco Church is the quatrefoil (the square part of the vault where the nave and the transepts intersect).
The wooden ceiling is the result of renovations that replaced the 17th century vaults.
The interior is characterized by a Latin cross, with a square apse at the end.
On the right side of the façade, there is a pulpit from which Saint Bernardino da Siena used to preach.
The tombs of Pietro di Vico (1269) and of Pope Clement IV (1270) are in the church. The maker was Pietro di Oderisio. So is the tomb of Cardinal Marco da Viterbo.
The mausoleum of Adrian V was probably made by Arnolfo di Cambio.