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Chiesa e Museo di San Francesco

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The complex of San Francesco, consisting of the church and the adjacent former convent, stands on the site where, according to legend, St. Francis preached, speaking to a braying donkey and managing to pacify him. The church was built over an ancient building dating back to 1268 and dedicated to the Madonna; it was enlarged in the 14th century and restored a century later. The architecture is simple and undecorated, in line with the style of mendicant orders. It has a single nave with a wooden truss roof, a pentagonal central apse and two rectangular-shaped chapels on the sides. Inside there are 15th-16th-century frescoes and a beautiful cross from the first half of the 14th century. Still preserved inside the church is an organ of great value made by the Montefalco-born Paolo Pietro di Paolo in 1504. It is the oldest example in Umbria, and one of the oldest in Europe, a survivor of the type defined as a ‘Wall organ’ during the Renaissance.

The convent was founded by the Friars Minor Conventual, who became a fundamental order for the community of Trevi. In fact, they were entrusted with the custody of the three keys to the city’s invaluable historical archive, the so-called ‘Archivio delle Tre Chiavi’ (Archive of the Three Keys). The convent develops around the beautiful cloister formed by the portico, whose lunettes are frescoed with episodes from the life of St. Francis by Bernardino Gagliardi from Città di Castello, who painted them around 1645. In the 17th century the building was rebuilt from its very foundations, while in 1833 it was restructured by the famous architect Giuseppe Valadier, who made it suitable to host the collegio Lucarini, a prestigious institution founded two centuries earlier by Virgilio Lucarini, exponent of a wealthy family from Trevi.

Today the museum complex of San Francesco has been set up inside the former convent, inaugurated in 1996 after reconstruction and restoration works. Originally the Museo della Città e del Territorio and the Pinacoteca were set up established there, while three years later it gave way to the Museo della Civiltà dell’Ulivo. Finally, in 2006, the complex was completed with the addition of the Antiquarium. Inside the Pinacoteca (Gallery) are artworks of exceptional calibre from the medieval and renaissance periods, such as l’Incoronazione della Vergine by Giovanni di Pietro, a Madonna con il Bambino by Pinturicchio and l’Assunzione della Vergine, an altar-piece created in 1640 da Alessandro Turchi. The archaeological museum instead contains excavated materials found in the locality of Pietrarossa, where ancient Roman Trebiae once stood.

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