Since the early sixteenth century the Capuchin friars stopped in Mendrisio to preach Lent, until in 1635 they settled permanently in the village building their convent.
Next to it rose the Church of San Francesco (1635), commonly called the Church of the Capuchins in homage to the religious who wanted it. In 1853 the convent was demolished to make room for the old hospital. At the end of the inviting tree-lined avenue leading to the Church, the red façade with the mosaic depicting St. Francis, by the Mendrisian artist Gino Macconi (1967), stands out.
Inside, a single nave covered by a barrel vault, painted in neo-Gothic style by the artist Angelo Sala (1870). In its front part there are several paintings of the seventeenth century, including, on the right, San Felice da Cantalice (1637), with a striking natural setting of gray and brown, and on the left St. Anthony of Padua, painted in 1655 by Francesco Torriani, admirable for its warm golden hue.
The first chapel on the right has a late Baroque wooden altar with a statue of the Madonna trampling on the devil. On the high altar there are artistic expressions of different styles: the late baroque ciborium in the shape of a small temple; the nineteenth-century neoclassical table; the seventeenth-century altarpiece - a copy by Giovan Battista Crespi known as Il Cerano - with the Crucifix between Saints Francis and Charles that with gestures of affectionate transport impersonate the intense devotion dear to the religiosity of the Counter-Reformation.
In the eighteenth-century choir there are several paintings of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that belonged to the convent and depict the blessed and Capuchin friars.