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Hermitage Le Celle

Places of worship

In Cortona, one of the first Franciscan settlements

The convent of "Le Celle" in Cortona constitutes one of the first Franciscan settlements chosen and desired by Francis of Assisi.

In 1211, Francis requested and obtained a place in which he could retreat in prayer. A young nobleman from the town, Guido Vagnottelli (who would later become “Blessed Guido”, one of the Francis of Assisi's first companions) offered him what at the beginning of the 13th century must have appeared to be a rugged place and above all devoid of any human settlement. Francis, nevertheless, chose it for the solitude it gave him, but especially because it was particularly expressive of his Lord.

The complex, built straddling a narrow valley, is very impressive because of the amenity and spirituality of the place. The friars' dwellings and convent rooms are arranged "in tiers" on both sides of the valley.

The small 13th-century church is outside the buildings. Its interior is in a layout typical of Capuchin churches, with a single nave ending in a flat-ended presbytery, occupied by a large dark wooden altar, imposing but simple, built by Remigio of Florence in 1695 to house the Madonna and Child with Saints by Giovanni Marracci of Lucca, realized the year before, in 1694.

On the right is the chapel of Saint Felice from Cantalice, erected in 1651 by Margherita Venuti, known as "the female Pope"; on the altar is the Madonna offering the Child to Saint Felice from Cantalice by Simone Pignoni.

In the refectory, a wooden Deposition by Giovanni from Rovezzano (1632).

More attractions in Cortona