The Basilica, built following a visit by St. Francis of Assisi in 1222, is enormous yet refreshingly simple. Built in the French Gothic style it nevertheless features a Romanesque façade.
Unlike many such ancient churches, its insides were not completely revamped in the Baroque period.
Little lions are scattered along the fence surrounding San Francesco, to keep watch over visitors.
Of particular interest are two free standing tombs on its grounds: these represent a truly unique construction as examples of such mausoleums have almost never been found in Italy.
Built in the 13th century, the one pictured here houses a “glossatore” – a 12th century scholar of ancient legal texts. The glossatori compiled explanations of Latin and Greek terms… something like a modern-day glossary.
After a little tour – the marble altar inside dates from the late 1300s and the stained glass windows are spectacular – step across the street for a delight to the palate. La Cremeria San Francesco boasts all organic ingredients and the gelato flavors they have come up with are most definitely worth a try (squash and lotus fruit, ricotta and fig…).
If you have room (Bolognese meals are likely to leave you stuffed) try their specialty: the waffle, with or without a scoop on top!