The church, first example in Italy of Gothic style of French derivations, was erected in the 13th century on the initiative of the Franciscan community, who settled in the city since 1218 with Bernardo di Quintavalle, one of the first disciples of San Francesco.
The church that can be admired today is a pastiche of different styles ranging from Romanesque to late Gothic and early Renaissance. Particularly noteworthy are the high façade of Roman-Gothic forms and the apse with the two bell towers and the rampant arches of the radial chapels at whose feet stand the thirteenth-century tombs of the commentators Accursio, Odofredo and Rolandino de' Romanzi.
Inside the church, with an austere and grand appearance, stands the magnificent marble altarpiece of the main altar carved between 1388 and 1393 by the Venetians Jacobello and Pier Paolo dalle Masegne. Particularly worthy of note are the various sepulchral monuments along the walls, including the tomb of Pope Alessandro V and the Romanesque Muzzarelli chapel (cappella Muzzarelli), as well as the cloisters (14th-15th centuries) of the adjacent convent.
Within the complex there is also the Library of San Francesco with a heritage of 39,000 volumes and brochures, the Rubbiani Archive, the historical Archive of the Bolognese Province of the Conventual Minor Friars (Archivio storico della Provincia Bolognese dei Frati Minori Conventuali) and the Musical Archive.
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The Classic Itinerary: The emotion of the city landmarks
Basilica di San Francesco: every day 6,45 am - 12,00 pm and 3,30 pm - 7,00 pm. During the religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended. Opening times can be subjected to little changes. For further information please call: Curia Arcivescovile tel. 051 6480611.