St. Francis Church is situated next to the Franciscan monastery. In front of it there is a small square, formerly used as a cemetery. The construction of the church and the monastery reaches back to the year 1301. Despite many restorations, traces of the period in which the church was built can still be seen in the presbytery.
The present interior dates from the 17th century and the exterior from the 19th century. The left corner of the church is decorated in the Lombard style. The baldachin in front of the central altar dates from the 16th century. It was removed in the 18th century and restored to its original dwelling in the 19th century.
The most important painting is “Mary with all the Saints” by Vittore Carpaccio from the year 1518, which adorned the aedicula until 1940, when it was transferred to Italy. St. Francis Church is proud of its authentic gallery of paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries; the most important of which are: the Last Supper, the portraits of Pope Alexander V, Pope George II, St. Magdalena, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul and Samaritan Women by a Well.
Next to St. Francis Church is a Franciscan monastery with a gracefully designed atrium, the Cloister, which represents one of the best Cloister atrium designs in the coastal area. Leading to the Cloister there is a half-arched portal adorned with richly carved columns, bearing an architrave with an inscription and coats of arms.
In its entirety as well as its detail, the portal is considered to be the best example of stone carving art from the end of the 17th century in Piran. Due to its beautiful atmosphere and good acoustics, the Cloister has for many decades been the setting for the Musical Evenings of Piran.
The Pinacotheque, in the basement of the monastery, contains a collection of 14 high-quality paintings, painted mainly by unknown Venetian artists who used to decorate the monastery and the church.
It was opened to the public in the year 1997 and can be visited in the summer every day between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. or 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. During all other seasons, visits are possible by appointment only.
Former Church of St Catherine of Alexandria
Right next to the entrance to the Minorite
Monastery, there once stood the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria, the
oldest building in today's monastery complex.
Three tombs belonging to important personalities
from Piran were discovered here, and one of them is believed to belong to
theBrotherhood of St Catherine.