Chiesa di San Francesco



The Church of saint Francis is one of the main medieval monuments in Lodi. Its origins date back to 1252, when the bishop of Lodi, Buongiovanni Fissiraga, restored the Minor friars into the city, who had been expelled from the city gates due to the intolerance of the Ghibelines faction, and donated them the small Saint Niccolò church. A few years later, presumably from the Eighties, the friars began building the new church, whose progress should have been near completion in 1290 when the remains of Bishop Bongiovanni were laid in it. The promoters of the works were Antonio Fissiraga (possibly the bishop’s nephew) Flora dei Tresseni. The Gothic-Romanic style church has an unfinished façade just above the central rose window and has “a cielo” mullioned windows with two lights, a typical Lodi detail devised to lighten the frontal structure. Just below the rose window is a porch with brickwork columns resting on high stone footstalls. Inside it has three naves with side chapels and transept, the architectural typology is widespread in Lombardy; it adopts lancet arches resting on cylindrical pillars with cross vaults. The church guards the most comprehensive collection of Lodi painting starting from the XIV century; among them, it is worth mentioning the votive fresco “Virgin with the baby Jesus, Saints Nicholas and Francis and Antonio Fissiraga showing the model of the church”. Its author, an anonymous master from Lombardy, knew well the innovation introduced by Giotto and names himself conventionally the Master of the Fissiraga. Finally, the third chapel in the right nave, called the chapel of San Bernardino da Siena, was frescoed by Gian Giacomo da Lodi in twenty-two pictures dating back to 1477, depicting the life of the Saint. Gian Giacomo’s style is easy and didactic, completely lacking any late-gothic elements; in the meantime, though, it does not neglect a highly intellectual content such as its use of perspective, which marks the passage to a humanist phase.





Lodi, Piazza Ospitale

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Lodi, Church of Saint Francis