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San Francesco Church in Prato

Places of worship

The building houses the Migliorati Chapel, a Renaissance masterpiece

The Church of San Francesco is found in the oldest part of Prato and was built in 1282, when the municipality gave this land to Franciscan friars, who built a convent and a small church, the first in the Prato area to be made entirely from brick rather than stone. The façade is nonetheless in polychrome alaberese and serpentine, with a Renaissance addition of an elegant portal and triangular tympanum with a relief of "St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata" by Andrea della Robbia.

Inside, in the single nave topped by wooden trusses, the pietra serena pulpit from the 15th century stands out, depicting the Chi Ro. Above the altar is a 14th-century "Crucifix" in polychrome wood donated by the merchant Francesco Datini, whose white marble tombstone, set into the church’s floor, is decorated as a Gothic tabernacle.

From inside the building, you can reach the Renaissance cloister, where you can visit the 14th-century Chapel of the Capitolo on the eastern side, with frescoes by Niccolò Gerini depicting the stories of St. Matthew the Apostle and St. Anthony the Abbot and a Crucifixion. On the southern side of the cloister, you can find the entrance to the convent, where there are beautiful rooms from the early 1300s.

All four segments of the vault represent the figures of the Evangelists, painted with brightly coloured brushstrokes, while the lunette of the eastern wall houses the Crucifixion, the most impressive representation but unfortunately also the most deteriorated.

Known by locals as “the chapel of the Scrovegni di Prato”, the Migliorati Chapel is a symbol of the city of Prato.