Risen, probably, in the 14th century, the beautiful Sorrento church, in the course of the centuries, has deeply changed its aspect. This holy building kept for a long time, in the of the sacristy, the ancient municipal writings and the seal of Tasso’s hometown.
Despite its appearances, which could let it be supposed to be built recently, the history of the Church of San Francesco is intimately linked to that of the monumental complex which, besides a convent, includes a wonderful 14th- century Cloister.
The construction of this holy building, is thus, particularly old, even though a series of natural calamities, of enlargements and modernization interventions made it achieve an aspect and a size which are very different from the original ones.
Yet, in the last few centuries, the Church of San Francesco itself had a particularly prestigious role, not only under the religious point of view, but also under that of public life.
You need only to think that, already at the end of 1400, the sacristy of this church kept the ancient municipal writings together with the seal of the Town (which, for its extremely high symbolic value, was kept in a proper box which could be opened only with four different keys).
Actually, the history of the Church of San Francesco mixes with that of the places where one of the Patron Saints of Tasso’s hometown.: Saint Antonino.
The Sorrento Senate – after 625 A.D. – decided to let a monastery of Benedictine nuns be built close to the grotto where their protector went as a penance.
Among the ruins of that monastery, which – some centuries later – had been abandoned, the Franciscan conventual monks - who built, among other things, the Church and the Cloister which is part of it - established themselves.
As it happened for many other religious buildings, the Church of San Francesco underwent negative effects caused by the Italian unification.
At the end of 1866, in fact, the friars had to leave the convent (where they returned only in 1931), whilst the municipal administration of the time asked that they could accept the engagement of the maintenance and of the officiating of the Church.
Almost a decade later, works began, which were destined to turn the gardens belonged to the Franciscans into Public Gardens.
But transformations were not destined to have an end.
From 1926 on, in fact, the façade of the Church was entirely renovated together with the Cloister close to it.
Thanks to these works, some ancient fragments were found, which were later given to the Correale Museum.
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