When Dante arrived, the city was an immense building site full of life and novelties. The Franciscans were involved in the restoration works of the Church of S. Fermo to give it a shape more suited to their spiritual ideas. It is easy to suppose that Dante, who venerated St Francis, would often go there to observe the work of the masters. Through its only nave, large and bright, the new Gothic church would express the joy of living that belonged to this beggarly order: while the subdivision into naves of the previous Romanesque church induced a sensation of slow advancement, the new one would give its visitors the desire to run as if standing before a lawn. Dante, and even the Scaligers who helped the Franciscans, were in favour of this change: more than ever, the Church needed purification to become again the spiritual guide of humanity.
It is no coincidence that the descendants of Dante chose this church as the location of their sepulchre that is still found today on the right side of the transept in the Alighieri chapel.