San Francesco a Folloni

Campania, Italy

Michal Koszycki, Rebecca Wood

San Francesco a Folloni, located to the southeast of Naples near the ancient Appian Road from Rome to Brindisi, is a Franciscan convent founded in the thirteenth century. It is still the home of a small community of friars who are actively engaged with the nearby town of Monella. The church and convent have been repaired, expanded, and reconstructed on many occasions – the axis of the church was even rotated 180 degrees from its original alignment. In 2009 a group of four Duke undergraduates worked closely with the prior of the community, Fra Agnello, to propose an animated reconstruction of the history of the convent and its buildings. Thanks to funding provided by Dean Lee Baker, the students were able to travel to Italy and spend ten days working on site, living in the Franciscan community with the friars.

The reconstruction presented by the Duke University students presents an innovative interpretation of early Franciscan architecture, representing it as an additive process supported (and even driven) by the donations of private patrons who requested burial in the church and cloister. The complex was built in a series of incremental steps of additions and expansions that spread out over at least 8 centuries.

A video explaining the project can be viewed here:

San Francesco a Folloni from AAH&VS on Vimeo.