The cathedral dedicated to the Assumption Mary was reconstructed in about 1120 on the site of a preexisting church dedicated to the Holy Mary.
The Romanesque façade is interposed by the geometric intarsia marble framework of the main entrance added in the 13th century and attributed by Vasari to Nicola Pisano.
The interior was completely modified from 1580 - 1584 when Bishop Serguidi enthusiastically adhered to the new reforms laid down by the Council of Trent.
Although in late Rennaissance style, the cathedral still preserves the Romanesque latin cross and a nave flanked by two aisles. The columns dividing the nave from the aisles were decorated in stucco by Gianpaolo Rossetti and the capitals by Leonardo Ricciarelli. The six altars framed by a sculptured frieze in Montecatini stone date to the beginning of the 16th century. The gilded coffered ceiling, richly and colourfully decorated, was designed by Francesco Capriani, carved by Jacopo Pavolini of Castelfiorentino and gilded by Fulvo della Tuccia.
The "Holy Ghost" in the centre is surrounded by the sculptured busts of saints Ugo, Giusto, Pope Linus, Clemente, Attinea and Greciniana and above the altar the "Assumption Mary with saints Vittore and Ottaviano".
The coats of arms of the Medici family, the Serguidi and the Commune of Volterra surmount the triumphal arch and an inscription commemorates the execution of the ceiling thanks to the benevolent generosity of the Grand duke, the solicitude of the bishop and the consent of the citizens.
When the balustrade was dismantled,the pulpit was reconstructed and the romanesque windows were filled in and replaced by rectangular windows.
Further restoration work was carried out from 1842-43; the walls were painted in white and grey stripes the flooring was relaid in black and white marble, the stucco columns were painted to simulate red granite and at the Bishop's expense, the presbytery was added by the architect Aristodemo Solaini.
After a fire, the transept was restored from 1842-43 in gothic style, tufa stonewalls and four steps on either side, to the regretful loss of the 16th century organ.
On the left of the entrance: "Funeral monument of Franceso Gaetano Incontri", the archbishop of Florence; the bust was sculptured by Arisdemo Costoli (19th century) while the design and ornamentation was executed by Mariano Falcini. Below the monument, the eight marble intarsia panels, originally part of the 12th century balustrade were beautifully carved by Pisan and Florentine artisans.
Web site: Comune di Volterra