The Convent of San Francesco was constructed in 1276 on the site of a small temple erected in 783 by the Lombards in honour of San Miniato.
It is said that in 1211 St Francis, then a guest at San Miniato, received that plot of land as a gift and decided to found his monastery on it. The first things to be built were the church and the parts used as a monastery and a sacristy; later, from the first half of the fifteenth century, living quarters were built above the cloister next to the great church, as were the old refectory (which would later become an exercise area) and a chapel dedicated to St Louis of Toulouse. Cells were constructed around the first cloister (known as the cloister of the 'padri'), along with corridors and a large refectory, on the wall of which is found a 'Franciscan Supper' (1690) by the painter Carlo Bambocci. The second cloister, nicknamed after the 'novices', was erected towards the end of the 1600s.
In the following centuries the community became poorer, the chapel was converted into an olive-press and during the wars the buildings were used even for military and medical purposes. The convent was closed for certain periods but was restored to the brothers thanks to popular efforts.
The convent is now managed by the Christian association Nuovi orizzonti, which was founded by Chiara Amirante.
Prices updated in March 2018: contact the organisation to check.