Pope Niccolo IV (Girolamo Masci) was the first Franciscan Pope in the history of the Church. He was born in 1227 in Lisciano, a few kilometers far from Ascoli Piceno, and he died in 1292.
In 1288 he gave the cathedral of Ascoli Piceno a thirteenth century outstanding cope made in England of great quality. At present it’s displayed in Ascoli Piceno Town Museum.
He moved the seat of the Curia from Rome to Rieti and he lived in the hope of the reunification of Western and Eastern churches.
He played an important role in Medieval culture, as, in November 1290, he laid the foundation stone of the new cathedral of Orvieto, and gave a strong impulse to universities, including that of Macerata and Ascoli Piceno in the Marche and abroad, in Montpellier.
He ordered the re-founding of the city of Cagli, destroyed by a fire started by the Ghibellines in 1287 in an attempt to take over the Guelph government of the free commune.