Visit Iglesias - Saint Francis's church

Saint Francis's church

Saint Francis's church

The presence of Minor Friars in Iglesias was confirmed since 1324, though the first evidence of a proper convent assigned to them dates back to 1328. Despite that, there is no mention of a church dedicated to the Saint of Assisi, although it is likely that the early convent had to be sided by a church.

The earliest edifice, probably smaller in size if compared to the present one, has left a few vestiges of windowed spaces once opening along the nave. Recently, an attempt was made to ascribe a plinth of column, unearthed during restoration works, to the earlier building; this has led to theorize an initial Romanesque structure, with basilica plan.

The present-day building, resulting from a total renovation started in late 15 century and continued until th late 16 century, is a perfect example of Catalan, late-Gothic architecture. The plain façade presents a portal with pointed arch, typical of Sardinian buildings of Catalan roots. The decoration of the prospect is completed by a rose window, enframed by moulded cornices and sided by two oculi, and a console supporting a fine, little marble statue representing the pregnant Virgin.

Inside, transverse arches are supported by semi-pillars of shaped trachyte ashlars; capitals are st engraved with identical and opposite shields with coats of arms and inscriptions. The 1 couple of st shields, supported by the semi-pillars of the last bay, shows a quarterly heraldic sign.

In the 1 and th nd rd 4 quarters is a transverse branch and, in the 2 and 3 ones, a hand holding an eradicated tree. At the shield sides are the first two figures of year 1584, reflected by an identical shield (opposite rd nd capital). Capitals of the 3 and 2 pillars are sculpted with the emblem of the municipality of th Iglesias in Aragonese and Spanish age. The capital of the 4 pillar shows the Franciscan insignia th (i.e., two crossed arms) on either sides. The shield on the 5 capital bears the O.P.A. ('opera') inscription and the date 1558. Above the 1 bay of the counter-façade, the choir is supported by a typical depressed round arch and closed by a high parapet with 8 compartments, decorated in fretwork. The presbytery (1523) was initially raised above the ground level of the hall, as a marble slab confirms. 

Mainas's retable

The polyptych (tempera on canvas, 335 x 242 cm) attributed to Antioco Mainas (1537-1571), consists of 6 compartments divided by carved, gilt frames, arranged on two orders and supported by a predella divided into 5 panels. The main panel (lower sect.) illustrates the Annunciation; above is a painting of the Crucifix between the Virgin and Saint John. The right p. shows shepherds' Adoration (lower sect.) and St. Orsola among the virgins (up. sect.). The left p. describes the three Kings' Adoration (lower sect.) st and St. Stephen's martyrdom (up. sect.). In the central p., on the predella, a Resurrection; the 1 p. nd on the right portrays St. Peter and Accursio, while in the 2 p. are St. Bernard and Adiuto. On the left, St. Ottone and St. Francis of Assisi. The external compartments feature Saints Bernardino of Siena and Anthony of Padua. This work refers to the artistic production of the Stampace shop (after the name of the homonymous quarter of Cagliari), marked by a popular, narrative style. th th The same chapel guards 3 bronze bells of 16 -17 C. recuperated from the destroyed bell tower