Read ancient manuscripts, watch concerts and follow in the footsteps of a saint at this 13th century church and convent. The Church of San Francesco was named after Italy’s patron saint, Francis of Assisi. It was built on the remains of an earlier church that was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. According to legend, Saint Francis visited the church in 1222 as he was passing through Ravello on his way to venerate the remains of Saint Andrew.
The building’s original gothic style gave way to its current baroque features during a period of restoration in 1700.
The church is small, but there is plenty to see. Observe the attractive pipe organ in the choir. Look beneath the high altar at the urn containing the body of Blessed Bonaventura of Potenza. He was a Franciscan priest and missionary who preached and worked along the Amalfi Coast and died in Ravello in 1711.
View memorabilia and relics of Bonaventura in the ‘Memoraile of Blessed’, an ancient hall next to the church. There are manuscripts, religious vessels, stained glass depictions of Bonaventura and the first biography of the priest. It was published in 1754. Study the stone reliefs on the sarcophagus that dates back to Late Antiquity.
Enjoy a few moments walking around the cloisters. Note the small temple-like structure at the center that covers a water well. Venture inside the Salon to see reproductions of the stone work of the late Francesco Amato, a local artist. Go to the library near the convent and look at some of the books and manuscripts that date back to the 16th century.
The cloisters and the church often host classic musical concerts. Find out what’s on by visiting the church of San Francesco’s website.
The church can be found in Ravello, four miles (seven kilometers) from Amalfi and 18 miles (30 kilometers) from Salerno. Get there by car from the coast road or by bus from Amalfi. There’s no entrance fee.