Key to Umbria: Bevagna

The Franciscans originally settled outside what is now Porta Cannara.  In 1275, the Prior of San Michele gave them an oratory on this site, which is the highest point in the town and was originally the site of another Roman temple.  The oratory was dedicated to San Giovanni Battista and that gave its name to the northwest quarter of Bevagna.   

The Franciscans built the present church (which was originally dedicated to San Giovanni Battista) and the adjoining convent.


The lower part of the façade preserves its original character, and the vestiges of a rose window can be seen above. 

The cloister and convent were adapted in the 1970s for use as a school. 

Scenes from the life of St Francis (1655)

These frescoes in the cloister, which were signed by Bernardino Gagliardi and dated by inscription, no longer survive.


The interior of the church, which has a single nave and a semi-circular, vaulted apse, acquired its current appearance when it was re-modeled in 1756.    However, the two chapels on the right (see below) both retained their original appearances.

Trinity and the Virgin with Saints (16th century)

This altarpiece on the 2nd altar on the left is attributed to Ascensidonio Spacca, il Fantino.  It depicts the Trinity and the Immaculate Virgin with SS Joachim and Anna (who seem to be portraits of the donors).

Madonna della Misericordia (1580)

This panel  in the choir belonged to the Confraternita del Gonfalone and presumably came from the Chiesa del Gonfalone.  Members of the confraternity, nuns and members of the laity shelter under the Virgin’s cloak.

Cappella della Madonna di Loreto

This chapel is the 2nd on the right.  The terracotta decoration of the cupola (16th century) is by Santi Buglioni da Firenze.

Ciccoli Chapel

This chapel, the 1st on the right, belonged to the Ciccoli family and contains the monuments of:

  1. Gisberto Ciccoli, on the left wall; and 

  1. Antonio and Francesco Ciccoli, on the right wall (not visible during my visit of April 2010).  It apparently has a fresco (1594) of the Pietà that is signed by Ascensidonio Spacca, called il Fantino and dated by inscription.

It also contains the stone on which St Francis is believed to have stood when he preached to the birds outside Bevagna (on the left wall, to the right of the monument to Gisberto Ciccoli.

The fresco (late 16th century) in the cupola, which depicts the hierarchy of angels, is attributed to Ascensidonio Spacca, called il Fantino

[The damaged altarpiece (late 16th century) depicts the Crucifixion, with St Francis kneeling at the foot of the cross.  It is sometimes attributed to Dono Doni or il Fantino]

[Pavement tomb of Francesco Torti]

Art from the Church

The following works from San Francesco are now in the Pinacoteca.

Ciccoli Altarpiece (ca. 1565)

An inscription records that Gisberto Ciccoli commissioned this altarpiece of the Madonna and Child, which came from his family chapel in San Francesco.  It is attributed attributed to Dono Doni: Gisberto was married to a member of the Sermattei family, which, like Dono Doni, came from Assisi.

The altarpiece commemorates his nephew who had died when only ten: the boy is shown at the Virgin’s knee receiving the blessing of the baby Jesus.  Gisberto was a doctor, and one can sense his grief at having been unable to save his nephew: two inscriptions below the arms of the Ciccoli and Sermattei families lament his early death.

Madonna di Constantinopoli with saints (1609)

Loreto Duranti commissioned this (now damaged) altarpiece in his will for his family chapel in San Francesco.  It depicts the Madonna and Child in Byzantine clothes with SS Francis and Bernardino.

Return to Monuments of Bevagna. 

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San Francesco (after 1275)

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