The Ruins of the Convent of Colombaio

The Franciscan Convent of Colombaio, or Convent of Saint Bernardine, has been documented since 1251. Built on the site of a chapel, or aedicule, with the image of the Annunciation, it is thought to have been used as a retreat by Saint Francis. At the beginning of the 15th century, the convent was taken over the Osservanza, which proposed a model of life which adhered more faithfully to the Rule and Testament of Saint Francis, and it was chosen as the location for welcoming novices. In 1402, Saint Bernardine of Siena underwent his novitiate there. It was also where he celebrated his first mass and practiced the art of preaching for nine years. The convent was inhabited until its suppression in 1764, while the church continued to be officiated until 1827, after which it was definitively abandoned. The heart of the complex was the square cloister, adjacent to which were the convent, with its refectory, the kitchen, the bakery and the library.