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Middle Ages

Basilica of San Francesco

Viterbo (VT)

Basilica of San Francesco

Construction began on the Basilica of San Francesco in 1237 by the Order of Franciscan Friars. It is based, on a smaller scale, on the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi. Made of local stone (pietra serena and peperino) the basilica is Romanesque in style with a Latin cross plan and a Romanesque entrance portal with twisted columns. The hexagonal pulpit in the right corner was erected in 1428 in memory of the preaching in Viterbo of Saint Bernard of Siena. The church is flanked by a bell gable, whose bell dates to 1259.

Inside there are important works of art and funeral monuments. These include that of Pope Hadrian V, who died in 1276, with its rich Cosmatesque decoration. This is a splendid masterpiece of Italian funerary Gothic sculpture, attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. The monument to Pope Clement IV, in the left branch of the cross dates back to 1270 and is attributed to Pietro di Oderisio. The Basilica was also home to the famous painting of the Pietà by Sebastiano del Piombo. The original used to hang above the seventeenth century Botonti family altar. The masterpiece is now to be found in the Museum dei Portici and has been replaced with a perfect reproduction.



Piazza San Francesco, 4, Viterbo (VT)


9am to 12pm, 3pm to 6pm


Free entrance.


Telephone: +39 0761 341696


During religious functions, visits to the Basilica are suspended.

Length of visit:

30 m

Tips for your visit:

Photography is allowed.

How to get there:

The Porta Fiorentina train station, on the Rome-Viterbo line, is 600 m away, while the Porta Romana station (the city's main station) is 1.3 km away.
The Cotral stop is 400 m away.


Paid parking is available in the area in front of the basilica and in Piazza della Rocca.


The route is entirely accessible.