One of Cortemilia’s rich historical and artistic treasures is the complex of San Francesco, which according to tradition was founded by St Francis of Assisi himself in the 13th century.
Date: 13th century; modifications in the 18th century.
The building certainly shows an initial Romanesque-Gothic construction phase. However, successive rebuilding in the baroque style, visible in the façade and the large internal nave, shows significant modifications to the building in the 18th century.
In particular, a portico with three arches was built in front of the façade, with the central arch covered by a barrel vault, while the small side arches have cross vaults.
Inside the church, Gothic architectural structures can still be seen in the presbytery (spans covered by cross vaults), with the altar and the choir raised. Underneath them is the crypt, which can be accessed via a central staircase.
Outside, the bell tower has clear Romanesque elements, with Lombard bands running at various levels around all four sides.
Interesting fragments of frescoes, dated to the 13th-14th century, are still visible on the interior walls of the nave.