Basilica di San Francesco - Ticket Office

A single-nave building designed to reflect the practice typical of the mendicant orders of the day, construction on the Basilica of St Francis started in the second half of the thirteenth century and was completed in the fourteenth. The campanile was added in the sixteenth century. Painstakingly detailed restoration work has almost entirely re-established the original austere simplicity of the grandiose single-nave interior, which is flanked along the right by niches containing fourteenth-century and Renaissance ornamentation and along the left by stark Gothic chapels.

While you are inside the basilica, take the time to admire the stained glass by Marcillat, the canvases and frescos by Spinello and other rare and splendid pieces, such as the large crucifix panted by a contemporary of Cimabue, and make sure you go to the last side chapel on the left, to see the funerary monument to the jurist Roselli, which dates to the first half of the fifteenth century. But the basilica owes its fame above all to one of the masterpieces of all Renaissance painting: the Bacci Chapel, with its cycle of frescos of the Legend of the True Cross, painted by Piero della Francesca between 1452 and 1466. The chapel belonged to the wealthy Bacci family of merchants in Arezzo, who commissioned its decoration from the Florentine painter Bicci di Lorenzo in 1447.

But after he had completed work on the chapel’s vaulted ceiling, the two Doctors of the Church in the entrance way and the Last Judgement on the triumphal arch, the maestro died in 1452, the year when Piero della Francesca started working for the Bacci family. It then took him just a few years to complete the most modern frescos conceivable in fifteenth-century Italian painting, with their uniquely measured perspective.

These frescos are set on three levels on the chapel’s side and rear walls, including the most important works: the Dream of Constantine on the rear wall, the Battle at the Milvian Bridge (when Constantine defeated Maxentius) on the right and the Discovery and Verification of the True Cross on the left. Two key scenes are depicted on the rear wall: the Annunciation is an introduction to Christ’s human life on earth, while the Dream of Constantine describes the moment in history when the aspiring sole emperor had a vision of the cross, which then became the victorious battle flag of later Christian sovereigns. The scenes on the side walls are taken from the Old Testament and from the events that followed the Discovery of the True Cross by Constantine’s Mother, the empress Helena.

When designing the layout of the frescos, Piero della Francesca painted scenes located in the open air at the top, court scenes in the middle and battle scenes at the bottom.


You can buy the tickets online only by Paypal. Alternatively you can book the tickets by phone or email.
For security reasons due to COVID-19, max 10 persons are admitted to the Cappella Bacci / Piero della Francesca Frescoes per single turn. Each turn lasts 30 minutes. The reservation is compulsory.

VISITING RULES


The tours carry out in turns of 10 people each half an hour following the time-table above and need to be booked. The audience can visit the church and the Legend of the True Cross in 30 minutes. To enter the ticket office and the museum is compulsory to wear the face mask. Visitors with particular need are requested to report them while booking. We suggest you to come to the ticket office (entrance by St Francis street) 10 minutes before the tour starts for the procedure of admission. Only one person of a family unit or of a group can enter the ticket office. We deeply recommend to not carry luggage or big backpacks.

ENTRANCE TIME:


The tours carry out in turns of 10 people each half an hour and need to be booked (phone. 0575-352727/ 0575-299071, email pierodellafrancesca-ar@gruppomosaico.com, with paypal payment in this website)
Every day from 10:30 am until 11:30 am the tours to the Legend of the True Cross are interrupted due to Mass.
An appropriate clothing is requested in the Basilica, with shoulders and legs covered up to the knees level. Animals, food and beverages are not allowed. Visitors are kindly requested to keep quiet in respect of the Basilica and the people who are praying.

Ticket office opening times

Summer time:
Monday/Friday: 9am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 6pm
Sunday: 1pm - 6pm

Winter time:
Monday/Friday: 9am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm
Sunday: 1pm - 5:30pm

Time of visit: 30 minutes. Reservation is compulsory

Info call +39 0575 352727 or +39 0575 299071