Tour of the Franciscan Places

Tour of the Franciscan Places

Franciscan places in Cortona, Santa Margherita third Franciscan Light

  Cortona historic center

  Maximum duration 3 hours

  Difficulty: easy route

Tour description

Cortona has a rich spiritual heritage.

This itinerary helps to understand, starting from a precise chronological context, that is from the arrival in Cortona in 1211 of Saint Francis of Assisi, the importance of the Order of Franciscan Mendicants in the city. Cortana we can say possesses the prototype of Franciscan architecture in central Italy, the Church of San Francesco, built in 1245 by Friar Elia, one of the first followers of San Francesco and appointed Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor by the Saint founder himself.

The Church stands majestically on a high terrace, its interior houses altarpieces of extraordinary beauty including the Annunciation by Pietro da Cortona and parts of fourteenth-century frescoes. Friar Elia, not only left an extraordinary architectural work, but also precious reliquaries: a habit, a silk and watermark pillow case, an Evangelistarium and the precious ivory Stauroteca with a fragment of the Vera Crcoce.

During the visit I will explain how Friar Elia received these gifts and to whom they belonged. A place so rich in history, art, ancient Laudes sung, because even the Liturgical chant of the Confraternity of Santa Maria della Laudi has left an indelible mark on the spiritual musical culture in our territory. We will continue the itinerary reaching the hermitage le Celle dei Cappuccini, outside the historic center, about 3km.

The hermitage is located in a position of extraordinary beauty, solitary, evocative, surrounded by a green forest and bordered by a stream, the Loreto. It was the hermitage of the first followers of Francesco in the city of Cortona, San Francesco himself has lived there for at least twice, his bed is visible. The tour will end with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Margherita, located in the upper part of the city. Here there was a small church built by the Camaldolese monks in the 11th century, dedicated to San Basilio.

In a small cell located in the back of the church, Santa Margherita, Patroness of the city, lived the last years of her life and died there in 1297. Next to the church, the Cortonesi built a larger church, designed by Giovannni Pisano and enriched from frescoes by Pietro Lorenzetti and sculptures from the Sienese school. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries considerable transformations began, so much so as to completely demolish the fourteenth-century church, during the visit I will explain what remains of the ancient place.

In the main altar lies the uncorrupted body of Santa Margherita, considered the Third Light of the Franciscan Order, after San Francesco and Santa Chiara. The Basilica and the convent are in the custody of the Friars Minor O.F.M.

Highlights of the tour

  • Church of San Francesco
  • Hermitage le Celle
  • Basilica of Santa Margherita

All tours are very flexible and can be adapted to meet individual needs and their respective interests, for example groups, pilgrimage, associations and individuals.

Request availability for this tour