Franciscan Friary of Folloni

Montella, Italy

The Convent of Saint Francis at Folloni (Italian Convento di San Francesco a Folloni) is a Franciscan friary located near Montella in southern Italy. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in the winter of AD 1221–1222. When the saint and a fellow friar tried to enter Montella, on route as pilgrims to the Sanctuary of St Michael Archangel at Mount Gargano, they was not permitted to do so because of fears of leprosy. They walked a short distance to the Folloni forest and slept under a tree. They were miraculously shielded from snow and the friary was then founded on that spot. A church and an extensive complex were built there after the founding of the friary.

In AD 1732, the friary was demolished by an earthquake. It was rebuilt later in the century and virtually none of the old friary structures remained above-ground.

Archaeologists excavated the cloister walk of the friary in 2007-2008 and 2010. The remains of several hundred people interred there were recovered and studied. Most of the people were from Montella but one was not from the area. His radiocarbon date range is AD 1050–1249. The scientists suggest he may have been one of the saint's fellow travelers who founded the friary in the 13th century.

Presently the site also contains a museum. The church was erected in the 18th century, with a single nave and lateral chapels. The interior decoration is rich in stucco. In the main Chapel of the Crucifix is the Bread Sack of St Francis. The church also has the cenotaph of Diego I Cavaniglia, Count of Montella, killed in September 1481 during the siege of Otranto for the liberation of the town conquered by the Ottomans in 1480. It was erected by his widow Margherita Orsini.

Bread Sack of Saint Francis of Assisi

According to tradition, a sack of bread sent by Saint Francis of Assisi appeared on the doorstep of the friary in the winter of 1224. However, the saint was in France at the time and it was believed that an angel delivered the bread so this event was considered a miracle. The sack was later used as an altar cloth and then was preserved as a relic in the friary. Scientists analyzed part of the sack and determined its radiocarbon date range was AD 1220–1295. They also revealed the presence of ergosterol, a biomarker for the past presence of bread.



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EX SS368 1, Montella, Italy
See all sites in Montella


Founded: 1221 / 1732
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

clara diana moreno (2 years ago)
San Francisco, Montella. A place of peace and history. It is a Franciscan convent located near Montella in the province of Avellino in southern Italy. The monastery was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in the year 1221-1222 AD. c. It was totally rebuilt after an earthquake in 1732 AD. There is a museum with relics of San Francisco.
Nath FIBRO (2 years ago)
Magnificent abbey located in the little-known hinterland of Campania, in the heart of the province of Avellino rich in its vineyards. Due to a wedding, the museum was closed. Open only from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (see photo). Large car park at the entrance
Carmine DpC (6 years ago)
Church, convent, museum... in a nutshell: a wonderful place of worship and spirituality. Its foundations date back to the 13th century but what we see today is the result of changes and expansions completed in the mid-1700s. I invite everyone to find details on the internet about the origins, legends and history of this national monument, a stone's throw from the center of the charming Montella. The initiatives and events linked to this convent are also noteworthy. Last but not least, the XXI edition of the "Francesco d'Incanto" which between art, culture, spirituality, music inaugurates the Irpinia autumn. Place in the green (organized, and with picnic area) absolutely to visit!
Giuseppe Tesauro (6 years ago)
fantastic place!!
Dino Zocco (7 years ago)
Very nice and interesting place to visit. Ample and convenient parking. On the side there is a beautiful garden with benches and canopies, ideal for having meals outdoors. There is also a museum.
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