San Francesco Church was built between 1280 and the early 14th century, on the site a small church of the Minor Friars dedicated to St. Nicholas. The construction was commissioned by the Lodi bishop Bongiovanni Fissiraga.
In 1527 it was assigned to the Reformed Franciscan Order of St. Bernardino, who, in 1840, were replaced by the Barnabites. In the first years of their tenure, they carried on a wide restoration program, which was completed in 1842.
The church has an unfinished façade in cream-color brickwork, charactersized by a tall ogival cusped portico, also in brickwork. This is flanked by two blind columns and surmounted by a large rose window in white marble, in turn sided by two double ogival mullioned windows.
The wide interior is on the Latin cross plan, divided into a nave and two aisles with four spans each; there are also side chapels. The nave and the aisles are cross-vaulted, separated by ogival arches supported by large brickwork columns. Walls and columns are decorated by numerous frescoes dating from the 14th to the 18th century; among the many 14th century ones, particularly renowned are the Madonna with Child, Saints and Antonio Fissiraga from an unknown Lombard master. In the right aisles are 16th-century frescoes depicting Madonna with St. Francis, St. Bonaventure and a Donor by the local painter Sebastiano Galeotti, a collaborator of Callisto Piazza.
Among the 16th- and 17th-century paintings are included a Saint Anthony meeting Ezzelino III da Romano by il Malosso, St. Francis Receiving the stigmata by Sollecito Arisi and a Madonna of Caravaggio by Enea Salmeggia.
The church contains the tombs of several notable people, including the poet Ada Negri and the naturalist Agostino Bassi.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.