In 1481 the convent of St. Francis of Vico was built for the Franciscans by order of the lord Giovan Paolo de Leca.

It has been inhabited since 1836 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, of which Father Albini was the emblematic superior.

Recognised as an Apostle of Corsica, Father Albini is celebrated every year on 20 May at the convent, the site of his tomb.

St. Francis Convent

Its history

The existence of the convent of St. Francis of Vico is closely linked to that of Giovan Paolo da Leca. 

It was at the end of the 15th century that this cinarchesi lord sought to add to the image of the warlord those of the courtier and the pious patron, as the princes of his time should have been.

In 1481, at the height of his power, Giovan Paolo obtained a writ from Pope Sixtus IV allowing him to " build a convent in the location he saw fit " and financed the foundation of a convent within his seigneury.

He was copied a few years later by his counterpart and rival from the south of the island, Rinuccio della Rocca, with the convent of Tallano. 

Although sources are lacking, Giovan Paolo da Leca is thought to be the person who commissioned the large polychrome wooden Christ, U Santu Franciscone, which is in the convent church. 

St. Francis Convent

A humble building

The convent was originally built from the small chapel dedicated to St Anthony.

It consists only of small buildings identical to those of the most humble inhabitants of the region.

Almost two centuries later, in 1671, a chronicler of the Franciscan province of Corsica reported that :

" The cells are low and cramped, their floors are made of dirt, they are real mirrors of poverty!

The convent's development owes its salvation to the unfailing involvement of the community of the Vico region, which was very mobilised.

During the 17th century, a wing of the building was built perpendicular to the church. Then, in the 18th century, a new part was built perpendicular to the 17th century wing. The whole building forms a "U" shape, which is characteristic of the current convent. 

The convent was requisitioned during the Revolution by the state as national property. Thanks to the influence of the local population, the Franciscan monks remained until 1826 on the condition that they rent their former convent!

Then the State decided to put it up for sale. It was then that Mgr Casanelli de Vico, bishop of Ajaccio, bought it to accommodate the Oblates in 1835.

In 1905, after the law of separation of Church and State, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were forced to leave the convent. They moved back 30 years later and have been there ever since.

vico convent
U Santu Franciscone

The convent treasure

"U Santu Franciscone

This large polychrome painted wooden crucifix is dated to the late 15th century. It is believed to be the work of a 15th century Italian master.

It is one of the tallest in Corsica (1.85 m)  

The fineness of the details is remarkable and the anatomical treatment of the body evokes a production of the great Italian school of the 15th century.

Classified as a historical monument in 1960, it was restored in 1988.

This large Christ probably adorned the high altar before the acquisition of the marble Tabernacle.

In the past, it was carried in procession mainly to bring rain in times of great drought.