Convent of San Francesco
The construction of the convent took place during the 13th century, representing one of the first Franciscan settlements in Tuscany. In fact, permission to build an oratory was granted to the Blessed Pietro Gargalini, a Franciscan from Colle, in 1229. For its construction, the order’s principles of poverty and humility were followed; in fact, an impervious place was chosen for prayer, far from village life. One had to wait until 1335 to obtain a connection to the Borgo, i.e. the construction of the so-called nine-arched Bridge of St Francis, completed in 1338. The structure faces west and is located in a small square; in the side wall, the outlines of four Gothic-style pointed arch windows are visible.
During the 18th century restorations, some of the stained-glass windows were removed and used in other churches, such as the stained-glass window with Santa Caterina moved to the Church of Santa Caterina in Colle Alta and others depicting St. Lodovico and San Biagio moved to the Cathedral of Siena. From 1767 to 1809, the Convent was used as a public hospital and the cloister was used for the burial of the dead. The gabled façade is not completely original, as it underwent some additions in neo-Gothic style during the 20th century, such as the central mullioned window with a small column.
In the longitudinal-plan interior, a Madonna and Child and an Apostle hypothetically close to Cennino Cennini and a Stigmatised San Francesco by Pier Francesco Fiorentino were rediscovered during the last restoration in 1992. Connected to the church and convent is a large columned cloister that takes the form of a non-regular quadrilateral. Interesting are the small coats of arms of the Franciscan Order and the Community of Colle visible in the capital of the column opposite the entrance to the cloister.