San Francesco is one of the small hamlets of Massa Lubrense: located on the western side of the hill Deserto, with a splendid view.
The square houses the church of San Francesco di Paola and the adjacent tower Liparulo. The two buildings, connected to the imposing Convent, form one large structure and are now occupied by the Fathers Minimi.
In the middle of the semicircular square at the base in a ramp leading to the Church, there is a statue of St Francis in Paola. The sacred building has a carved door in black tuff, with round painted pediment, in a tuff frame. The tower Liparulo, bell tower, resisted the invasion of the Saracens in 1558.
In San Francisco the weekly market takes place every Friday morning.
Church of San Francesco di Paola
The Church has a single nave with an apse with three arches. The altar of the eighteenth century, in polychrome marble, is closed by a marble balustrade. At the center of of the gallery the picture of Our Lady of Health, locked in a niche. The coat of arms of Liparulo and the epigraph of the foundation of the church are carved at the base. In the walls of the basin, two large paintings depicting the Assumption and the Expulsion of the moneylenders from the temple.
Two more paintings of St. Lucia and St. Catherine are located on the sides of the niche. The Chapel of St Francis has a seventeenth-century altar, in polychrome marble, with the painting of St. Francis which is dedicated. The urn containing the relics of the Martyrs of Otranto, a city that in the reign of Ferrante I was attacked and devastated by the Turks, and to whose liberation Massa Lubrense contributed by sending some men on September 10, 1481. On the urn containing the relics is written “Martyrs Hydruntini MDLXXXIII”.
In front of the chapel of St Francis there is another altar dedicated to St. Onofrio and St. Francis, with the framework of 1600. In the walls there are three altars on each side. In the church and in the sacristy the tiled floor of the eighteenth century is interesting, but there are other works of art. Among these, a wooden statue of the Virgin of the fifteenth century.
Convent of S. Francesco
The Convent is adjacent to the church and incorporates the tower Liparulo, adapted as bell tower. It has a beautiful cloister. On the upper floor there are the rooms of the monks, along a wide corridor that follows the line of the squared cloister.
In September 1837 the Fathers Minimi were expelled. The convent, used as a hospital during the cholera epidemic of that year, became district prison and district court, both abolished in 1891. It was the seat of the Congregation of Charity and hospice for the poor. In 1929 the Minimi were placed in the convent, where today held the apostolate in this area.
Monsignor Gallo, bishop of Massa, proclaimed, at the request of citizens, San Francesco di Paolo Patron of Massa Lubrense. The Civic Administration every year, on the feast day, solemnly offers a candle in honor of St. Francis.
The feast of St. Francis is one of the most dear to the heart of Massa people. Not just lights, but the folk aspect of fisheries, pork, fireworks, band concerts and the traditional, long procession, now reduced within the district.
From this district you can reach, through very scenic inner streets, other small towns: the Arorella, Montecorbo and Priora (village of Sorrento).