Francesco Benelli's scholarship and teaching on history and theory of Renaissance and Late Medieval architecture are influenced by his background as a practicing architect. His interests and publications span from the late thirteenth to the end of the sixteenth century. They focus on issues of design, style, building materials, structures, and the interpretation and acquisition of the Antiquity during the Renaissance, but also on the relation between structure and decoration and on theoretical discourse from Leon Battista Alberti to Andrea Palladio. His book on architecture in painting explains how Giotto created a new way of conceiving pictorial space and representing architecture through an unexpected knowledge of classical sources.
Francesco Benelli is experienced in archaeological surveys and in the conservation of public, private and monastic Medieval and Early Modern buildings and fortifications as well. Recently he published articles on Rudolph Wittkower and Renaissance architecture, on his influence on Colin Rowe and the debate on proportions with Le Corbusier. All these articles are based upon material of the Wittkower archive. His main current project is a book on the education of the Renaissance architect through the study case of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and his reading of Vitruvius.