Siena is a town renowned for its churches of great religious and artistic importance that marked different moments in its history.
Every traveler should devote part of their holiday to visit the main Senese churches, for this reason we will dedicate series of to the most beautiful religious buildings to include in a tourist itinerary.
The Basilica of San Francesco is known for its architecture (originally Romanesque, then Gothic after enlargement works) and for a miracle that would take place here in 1730.
The history of the Basilica is linked to the arrival of the Franciscan monks in Siena in 1226, after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, but the present church is the result of a further renovation, which ended in 1475, becoming a magnificent example of Gothic art.
The facade has undergone major restoration and maintained the rose designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini in the XV century. The marble coats of arms on the facade represent the families of Siena, who gave a contribution to the restoration of the church, which occurred in the late XIX century.
Inside the Basilica we see a reference to the Duomo, consisting of bands of white and green marble, and the presence of precious artworks such as the frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, the Martirio di cinque frati francescani and San Ludovico di Tolosa si congeda da papa Bonifacio VIII, and that of his brother Pietro Lorenzetti, the Crucifixion.
On the walls of the nave you can see the flags of all the Siena contrada, because according to tradition, each of them goes around the town in the day which marks its patron saint and visit the Basilica to pay homage to the miracle of the sacred particles (the hosts used during Mass in Catholic churches).
The miraculous event dates back to 14th August 1730, when some thieves stole 351 consecrated hosts and even the Palio was suspended because of the dismay caused in the population.
Three days after the theft, on 17th August, the particles were found in the alms box of the Santa Maria di Provenzano church and it was decided to worship the hosts.
Since then, the hosts are kept inside the pyx (the typical container used in churches, usually in gold or other precious metals) and remained intact after almost three centuries, without any eration despite were carried out numerous chemical and biological analyzes over the years.
We recommend a visit to the Basilica to see up close the perfectly preserved hosts, the evidence of the inextricable link between art and spirituality in Siena.