Built in 1265, the church of San Francesco, today a sanctuary, was set against some medieval walls, in an alcove where tradition has it that the Saint from Assisi performed several miracles. A church of remarkable size for the Terni of those times, erected to preserve in a tabernacle a silver cross containing a relic of the cross on which Jesus died which was a gift from Pope Sisto lV to Alberico Camporeali who placed it in San Francesco which bordered with his family's estate. The Camporealis came to Terni with Federico Barbarossa and his henchmen in order to control the city as they owned, in fact, all the area that today includes piazza Tacito, and starting from the church of San Tommaso, bordered by the city walls, stretched as far as San Francesco.
Among the works of art to be found inside, particularly relevant are the paintings which belong to the "Cappella Paradisi", precisely because they were commissioned from Bartolomeo di Tommaso, a painter from Foligno by Monaldo Paradisi a member of an illustrious family of lawyers who , in the 15th century, were among the most important in the city. The theme of the cycle of frescos is The Last Judgment. It is an artwork of considerable worth even if not in a perfect state of preservation.
The historical background of the church can be read through its facade, as its subsequent and progressive extensions together with the addition of the aisles.
It was born through the initiative of the friars if a minor order who obtained from the municipal in 1259, at the request of Pope Alessandro Vl, the area where the oratory, where Pope Gregorio lX used to retire, once stood. Meanwhile, the oratory had become a building that the same Pope Gregorio had had built. The Franciscan monks bought a house next to it and in its place the church was born. There have been many rearrangements and interventions of " extraordinary maintenance" as the church of San Francesco was declared dangerous and closed to the cult.
Restoration work performed in1930, also taking advantage of friendly advice from Cesare Bazzani, freed the posterior of the church from a series of run-down houses which had been built practically on top of the apse.
Unfortunately, the Chapel of San Bernardino, which stood on the left side of the temple, was destroyed in the bombings of World War ll. The bell-tower is of particular interest and on the belfry level presents a "spring course" a frieze in coloured ceramic then repeated in the buildings near San Francesco by the architect Mario Ridolfi.