Chiesa di San Francesco
The St. Francis's Church is among the monuments that surround People's Square, the heart of the city of Ascoli Piceno. One of the most interesting examples of Italian Franciscan architecture, is the center of a monument incorporating the two cloisters attached: Major and Minor. The Church was founded in memory of the visit of the Saint in Ascoli Piceno, in 1215. The foundation stone was laid in 1258. Of the initial project were identified traces in some excavations in the area of the apse. In the fourteenth century began the construction set three naves separated by ten pillars supporting a roof truss. After several interruptions, the construction resumed in 1443, under the direction of Matteo Roberti from Como, to continue under the leadership of Antonio Di Giovanni, in 1451. To this period belong the side chapels with the women's galleries that overhang. The hexagonal tower, located on the left side of the Church, was built in 1444 by Matteo Roberti, while the tower overlooking People's Square was completed in 1461. In 1510 was inaugurated the monument to Pope Julius II in the upper part of the portal in People's Square, commissioned by Bernardino di Pietro da Carona. In 1521 it began the construction of the two aisles. The last structural intervention on the Church was the construction of the dome (from 1547 to 1549. The church has a rectangular plan of a Latin cross, the sanctuary is surrounded by seven double stands and ends with three apses. The main apse is surmounted by a polygonal dome. On the right aisle is the tomb of Countess Constance Cavina Saladini, designed by Ignazio Cantalamessa (1837), which features statues and bas-reliefs made by Emidio Paci. On the left aisle is the monument to Giovanni Vincenzo Cataldi, designed by architect Giovanni Branca. The main facade is entirely composed of square blocks of travertine, ranked in smooth masonry, with a horizontal crowning. In its lower portion there are three Gothic portals, the central one is the most interesting for wealth of decoration: the sides of the entrance, two column-bearing lions supporting columns decorated with diamond design relief which rise statues of saints of the Franciscan Order; the arch, in the exact middle, bears a carved lamb, symbol of the Guild of Lanari of Ascoli, and ends with a spire; in the fresco of the bezel they are represented St. John the Baptist, Our Lady and St. Francis. The Gothic portal, in travertine, with the wooden door by Cola dell'Amatrice, overlooks People's Square. Made in the early fourteenth century, it is divided into a round arch surrounded by three rows of different twisted columns. The capitals merge into one band, enriched by two rows of alternating protruding leaves. The lunette painting stands the coat of arms of Pope Paul V. Above the Gothic portal, it was lodged, between 1506 and 1510, the monument to Pope Julius II, work of Bernardino di Pietro da Carona: in the central niche is the Pope's statue enthroned and blessing, above Christ, and in the side niches four Saints of the St. Francis's Order.