Convento di San Francesco
Via S. Francesco, 4, 53034 Colle di Val D'Elsa SI, Italia
The Convent of San Francesco in Colle Val d'Elsa dates back to the mid-early thirteenth century, when Gregory IX delegated the Father Prior of the Dominicans of Siena to bless the first stone of the building, with a Papal Bull. Dating back to 1229, this makes the Colligiano convent one of the first Franciscan settlements in Tuscany.
The building was built on a small hill facing the village and remained isolated until the 1930s when the bridge that originally connected it with the town of Colle Val d'Elsa was erected.
At the beginning of its construction, the convent adhered to the typical Franciscan criteria and was noted for its simplicity, austerity and pauperism, but over the centuries it underwent numerous changes: the first of these took place in 1485 following damage caused by the Duke's troops Alfonso di Calabria, who had besieged Colle Val d’Elsa a few years earlier.
A further restoration took place in the 18th century, when the wonderful windows were removed and moved to Colle Alta and the Cathedral of Siena, later, the Convent was used as a hospital for a number of years.
The last restoration took place in the 1990s and brought to light part of the original frescoes, with some among them attributed to Cennino Cennini, Giovanni Maria Tolosani and Pier Francesco Fiorentino.
Today, the Convent of San Francesco has a simple exterior, while the interior develops along a longitudinal plan and shows the signs of restoration and modernization. Four large pointed arch openings reminiscent of Gothic style evidence the position of the original windows, while the numerous frescoes can be admired on the counter-façade, behind the altars, and on the side walls.
The building houses the Tabor Center, a refreshment and welcome point for pilgrims crossing the Via Francigena.