Church of St. Francis

Of particular interest is the church attached to the convent of St. Francis of Assisi, whose foundation dates back to 1296. The portal is a triple archway decorated with Arabic-Swabian geometric friezes. The inside rooms are illuminated by a single pointed arch with a straight apse of the Cistercian and forensics inspiration and it is dominated by the magnificent altar commissioned by “Fra 'Bonaventure Perna” in 1664, beautifully inlaid with colored marbles. The altar represents the synthesis of artistic experiences in Europe, occupying a central position in southern baroque art. The two side panels represent a stylized city and, right, a monastery with a monk, one child and a dog playing in the yard. It’s interesting to admire the meticulous care of the decorative elements that sometimes invade the space outside the "frame" to make more real the same representations. The fountain, the door panels and the temple have a symbolic reference to the Marian cult. Behind the altar it is situated the sarcophagus of Prince Nicholas Ruffo (1372), military Angevin commander of the fortress of Gerace, depicted in military clothes with his hands crossed on his sword and his feet resting on two dogs. This tomb, of Neapolitan workmanship, bears inscriptions in Gothic characters and it is supported by three winged figures symbolizing Fortitude, Faith and Charity.
Abolished in 1809 because of the French invasion, the monastery was transformed into district prison and it remained active until 1897. In the courtyard were found relics from the Iron Age (IX-VIII century BC.) and from Medieval Age. Near the cloister is situated the School Environment of Gerace for the development of architectural heritage and landscape.