Church of San Francesco Arezzo

Church of San Francesco Arezzo

Church of San Francesco Arezzo

Church of San Francesco Arezzo
4.5
Religious Sites • Churches & Cathedrals
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bruno l
Singapore, Singapore747 contributions
Do not miss Cappella Bacci
Aug 2020
Actually you can only visit the church if you book for Capella Bacci - on the website and preferably a few days before your visit as there could be high demand, especially over weekend.
The wall paintings in the Chapel are just incredibly beautiful
Written 25 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

J C
Flanders76 contributions
I'd give it a miss, not special.
Oct 2020
In almost 3 weeks in Italy there were only a few places I regret entering, and it is one of them.

We get only 30 minutes with the frescos (25 in fact, as we were the first group after a mass that got a little extended). There are no explanations with information what each mural is meant to represent. To my - untrained, admittedly- eye they looked similar to other frescos one may see all over Italy, often for free. Overall, it was a poorly spent -in my opinion- 8 EUR, which is too much for what is offered. (By the way, we paid 2 EUR for "reservation" even though we bought the tickets for the nearest tour, and entered right from the street. The "reservation" is obligatory, as the billboards inform. Why they do not just make the price 8 EUR, as opposed o 6 + 2?)
Written 14 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Marco_Polo499
Milan, Italy256 contributions
A church hosting one of the greatest masterpieces of painting in the world.
Nov 2019
St. Francis is an unassuming Franciscan church which contains a real trove of frescoes of the Renaissance period, many of which were painted by the most famous artists of that time. Among these, the frescoes painted by Piero della Francesca in the years 1452-1464 stand out: they narrate the "History of the true cross" and are one of the greatest masterpieces of painting of all time. In fact, they marked a turning point in the history of painting, to the point that the aesthetic ideas expressed in those frescoes are still a source of inspiration for today's painters: celebrated artists such as Botero, Balthus and Diego Rivera carefully studied them, and this is clearly perceived in their works. Piero painted all the walls of the Great Chapel (also called the Bacci chapel), located behind the high altar; in various squares he narrated both historical events and hagiographic legends concerning the Holy Cross: among the most famous scenes of the cycle are the veneration of the Queen of Sheba of the tree from which the wood of the Holy Cross will be taken (a legend) and the dream of the Holy Cross made by Emperor Constantine the night before his battle with Maxentius (a historical fact). Detailed information concerning these frescoes is posted at the entrance of the church (in Italian, English, French and German). In the past the colours of the fresco had dramatically paled because of the intense daylight coming through the windows, but about 30 years ago they were perfectly restored thanks to the generous sponsorship of a local bank (Banco dell'Etruria, a bank which was recently dismembered and partly dissolved due to a sad story now under scrutiny by the courts).

Two other cycles of very remarkable frescoes were painted by Parri di Spinello Aretino (Parri, son of Spinello the Arezzian) who is sometimes referrred to as Parri Spinelli: he was born in Arezzo in 1387. The first cycle is in the Guasconi's chapel (also behind the high altar); the second one is located in the upper part of the left wall of the church; the latter cycle had originally been painted on the façade of the medieval Hospital Santo Spirito (Holy Spirit), a hospital also known by the name Santa Maria del Ponte (St. Mary of the Bridge); this hospital was located in the centre of Arezzo and operated continuously from 1216 until 1924; in the year 1880 the frescoes by Spinello were detached and transferred to their present position.

The church hosts innumerable other frescoes by less important artists. Many of them have suffered the ravages of time and man and, for some, only fragments remain. My family is from Arezzo and my elders told me that, during the Napoleonic campaign of Italy, the French army used the church as a stable for their horses; it is also known that in the 19th century plans were made for transforming the church into a theatre !

From the architectural point of view the church is absolutely disappointing: it looks like a shed, since the interior is just an immense empty room; no decoration was ever applied to the façade, which has the masonry visible.

The church is a National Monument. Access is 8 €, and reservations are required. Access to the church is free when the religious functions are in progress, but access to the chapels is not allowed at that time. The ticket office is in the basement of the church. Opening hours are: Monday to Friday 9:00 to 18:30; Saturday 9:00 to 13:30; Sunday from 13:00 to 17:30. Access is free on the first Sunday of each month. The best hours to visit are in the afternoon, when Piero's frescoes are strongly illuminated by daylight; in the rest of the church the lighting is dim and artificial.
Written 10 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

penny_howard1
Florence, Italy272 contributions
A must see interior
Oct 2019
I have visited this Church a few times now but it never fails to amaze. Piero della Francesca was a true ground-breaking artist. whilst his figures might appear stilted and unreal to us, the colours and expressions that he created somehow bring the battle scenes and other stories related to the finding of the True Cross to life. The literary source for these images come from Jacopo of Voragine (now known as Varazze) in Liguria who pulls together stories from the Bible, the Apocrypha,& accounts of the lives of saints and martyrs. His book known as the Golden Legend was used as reference book by many Renaissance artists. These close fought battles reveal many macabre details on closer inspection!
Written 28 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

cfuller603
Washington DC, DC958 contributions
This is what churches were like
Oct 2019 • Couples
This was a revelation for me. Having studied the middle ages in France, I knew the importance of wall painting and sculpture to educate the illiterate masses. But until this church, I never understood that the walls were completely covered with frescoes and no space between. The frescoes here are fascinating, and the chapel well worth seeing and studying. My husband and I are museum goers, and we were here 1 1/2 hours.
Written 23 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

AllanJGJ
Wellington, New Zealand3,303 contributions
Peaceful church with superb frescoes
Oct 2019
While this is a pleasant little church in and of itself the real reason to visit it is the fresco cycle by early renaissance genius, the late 15th century Pierra della Francesco entitled Legends of the true cross. As a Roman history nut I was particularly interested in the paintings related to Constantine, but all are brilliant. The painter was also noted as a mathematician in his day and I like to think it comes through in the perspective work in many of the frescos; in fact he actually wrote a short tome on perspective in painting. There also a sense of normal life and immediacy about these work that appeals, you can imagine walking out of the church and seeing the exact same faces today. A quite brilliant work.
Written 14 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Frances S
Ashford, UK455 contributions
It is all about the frescoes
Sep 2019
The paintings show scenes from the legend of the True Cross, but for me it was the individual portraits comprising the scenes, with faces you could imagine meeting today, that captured my imagination, as well as the details of clothing. To be so close to these artworks and able to look at leisure was the highlight of my Arezzo day.
Written 5 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Andre B
Lausanne, Switzerland205 contributions
One of the oldest church in Arezzo
Aug 2019
San Francesco is a must to visit if you are in Arezzo. The church is beautiful. Nearby you will find nice coffees and restaurant. Very nice animation every evening in summer.
Written 30 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

steveV9827SR
Liverpool, UK37 contributions
Revisit - had to return.
Jul 2019
The atmosphere in the basilica was cool and a perfect antidote to the scorching sun outside - we were there in the middle of the day! The welcome is warm and friendly, multi-lingual and knowledgeable. The exhibit itself in stunning - the Della Francesca frescos so beautifully restored. Della Francesca's work has a stunning quality to it the reality of the figures, the expressions on the faces looking out at us over the five intervening centuries. As with a lot of the church art in Italy, you are conscious that you are in the presence of greatness when you quietly view these images, so lovingly and expertly restored for our contemplation.
Written 7 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

yns_10
Sydney, Australia1,454 contributions
Main attraction church
May 2019 • Couples
Although not the Duomo, it is the most important church in Arezzo because of the famous fresco cycle of the Stations of the Cross by Piero della Francesca. Entry is limited so get tickets early.
Written 5 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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