From the outside, the first impression is of a modern building, but in reality the church has ancient origins.
Legend has it that the church was built on an oratory founded by Sant’Antonino, but the earliest documented historical information dates back to the creation of the Franciscan order in 1300. The period of greatest splendor, however, dates back to the second half of the 15th century, when Kings Ferdinand I and Isabella of Aragon, rulers of the Kingdom of Naples, granted the Friars of St. Francis the use of the waters of the royal cisterns and made them a monthly gift of 6 ducats.
The church and monastery were severely damaged by the earthquake of June 5, 1688: some of the monks’ cells, the refectory and part of the church’s side chapels collapsed. The complex was partially restored in the early 18th century. In 1865, following orders from King Joachim Murat, the friars were forced to abandon the monastery. The premises were entrusted to the municipal administration of the time, which assumed responsibility for maintenance. It was not until 1931 that the Franciscan friars returned to the complex, where they still reside today.
Au-delà des aspects historiques et architecturaux, il existe toutefois une autre particularité qui confère un charme particulier au cloître de Saint François à Sorrente. En effet, cette structure est aujourd’hui à la disposition de la mairie de Sorrente et accueille les cérémonies à l’occasion desquelles sont célébrés les mariages civils, toujours plus nombreux, impliquant aussi bien des résidents que des citoyens italiens ou venant d’autres pays du monde entier.