Brother Elias was the successor of San Francis in the governing of the order. He died in Cortona in April 1253. Shortly before dying he dictated a detailed written confession which brought him back into favor with the Catholic church which he had abandoned after a series of heated discussions that had rendered him a controversial character in the Franciscan history. His fellow brothers buried him beneath the main altar of the Church of San Francesco, which Elias himself had built a few years before, like Elias did with Francis in the Basilica of Assisi, which was also constructed by him in honor of the Saint. The tomb remained unknown until 1651 when it was discovered by chance and immediately covered with a slab of marble, which copied the inscription found on a sheet of copper on the body, which has got lost. The marble was broken after a vandalism of the tomb in 1721 but later in 1976 replaced with the same inscription. A mist of doubt surrounds the inscription on this stone: is it really a copy of the writing on the sheet of copper, if the sheet of copper ever existed? These are all questions that need to be resolved through research and documentation.

THE THREE GRAVESITES OF SANTA MARGHERITA (13th, 14th and 15th century)

Reconstruction of the first grave of Santa Margherita It is recorded that after her death in 1297, Margherita was buried in the small church of San Basilio. Above her tomb which was created from a hole in the side wall that faced the valley, they probably placed the wooden tableau painted by the school of Arezzo, probably Margaritone, which today is preserved in the Diocesan Museum. Around the standing figure of the saint, who is dressed with the robes of the Franciscan tertiary, are painted scenes from her life. When the new church by Pisano was constructed, her embalmed body was moved in 1330 to a similar grave in the new church, in the perimeter wall on the upper left of the main altar. Above the new grave, to substitute perhaps the wooden tableau from the Church of San Basilio, it has been placed a stupendous marble cenotaph in order to enrich the decor of the grave below. This work was once attributed to Giovanni Pisano and then to the masters Angelo and Francesco di Pietro of Assisi. Today, under the eye of a more attentive expert, it has been attributed to the Sienese school of the first half of the 14th century. On the top there is an Annunciation with statues of the Madonna of the Angel Gabriel and the Eternal Father carved below a ledge. On the sarcophagus there are scenes of the life and miracles of the saint. The cenotaph was dismantled during the works to expand the church in 1730 and then transferred to the transept of the present church in 1879. This can be credited to Cortonese architect Domenico Mirri (1856-1939), supervisor of the works completed at his expenses against the will of Falcini, the designer who thought that they clashed with the new style given to the church. In 1580, the embalmed body of the saint was places in the high altar where it was given its definitive placement in a baroque wooden urn covered with sculpted silver, a work which was made on designs by Pietro of Cortona. Unfortunately, the silver sculptures were stolen in the 1980s.


This funerary monument, which has been dated to the same time of the cenotaph of Santa Marherita, was also attributed by some experts to the masters Angelo and Francesco di Pietro of Assisi. The tomb can be found in the right chapel of the apse of the Church of San Francesco and contains the remains of Bishop Ranieri Ubertini, who was the first bishop of Cortona after the construction of the Diocese in 1325 and who died of the plague in 1348. The bishop is represented in two positions. In the first lying on his side in a mausoleum decorated with two raised curtains of black marble. In the second above the curtains, seated in Pope's vestments in the act of blessing. The sarcophagus is carved with crests and figurative decorations.


It is documented that the funeral ceremony for Luca Signorelli, who died in Cortona in 1525, took place in the Church of San Francesco. As a consequence, it is quite certain that he was buried in the underlying crypt which was at that time accessible and property of the Compagnia dei Laudesi, which probably Signorelli belonged to. We could have a confirmation of it and the discovery of the tomb by removing the rubble that now occupies the crypt. At the moment the community of Cortona has placed on the wall of the monastery, next to the facade of the church, a bronze memorial bust.