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 fašade 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.
Athough 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 saintsUgo, 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.


The Giorgi Chapel. Wood panel depicting The Offering of Volterra to the Virgin painted by Pieter de Witte in 1587 commissioned by Captain Francesco del Bovino of the Giorgi family who appears in the left-hand corner of the painting.

The Collaini Chapel. Wood panel of the Birth of the Virgin by Francesco Curradi before 1618.

The Perissi Chapel.
Wood panel of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by Giovan Battista Naldini painted in 1590.

The Chapel of San Carlo. Above the door a wood panel of the Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saints John, Anthony Abbot, Francis and Augustine painted by Francesco Curradi in 1611. Above the altar, similar to those designed by Vasari ,a canvas painting of the Ecstasy of Saint Carlo Borromeo before the Virgin by Jacopo Chimenti ( known as Empoli). On the side walls Saint Mary Magdelan of Scolaro by Guido Reni and The Immaculate Conception by Francesco Brini.

The Serguidi Chapel. Attributed to Vasari, the chapel was completed in 1595, decorated in stucco by Leonardo Ricciarelli and painted by Giovanni Balducci. Above the altar, a wood panel of the Resurrection of Lazarus by Santi di Tito painted in 1592. On the side walls, two canvas paintings by Giovanni Balducci 1591 The Expulsion of the Infedels from the temple and the Parable of the Loaves and Fishes.


Deposition of the cross by a Volterran artist

Chapel of the Deposition. A magnificent group of five wooden polychrome figures representing the Deposition of Christ from the cross executed in 1228 by an unknown Volterran artist.

The Chapel of Saint Ottaviano, A sarcophagus, containing the remains of the hermit saint, executed in 1522 by Raffaele Cioli from Settignano as a sign of gratitude at the cessation of a plague ; the angel candle holders on either side are by Andrea Ferrucci.

The Maggiore chapel and choir.
The rectory stalls are the work of Francesco del Tonghio and Adreoccio di Bartolomeo while the 15th century fine intarsia bishop’s throne and the chaplain benches are the work of Tuscan masters.The fresco on the ceiling above the choir is the only one remaining of a series of frescoes of the Life of the Virgin painted by Niccol˛ Cercignani in 1585 .
The marble altar , executed at the beginning of the 19th century, is surmounted by a marble ciborium sculptured by Mino da Fiesole in 1471.On either side of the altar stand two ornate13th century marble columns with Corinthian capitals surmounted by two genuflecting angels bearing a candle holder, attributed to Mino da Fiesole.

The Chapel of Saint Ugo. The bishop saint of Volterra ,Ugo dei Saladini, rests in the marble sarcophagus commisioned by Ludovico Incontri in 1644.

The Chapel of the Madonna dei Chierici. The wood statue of the Virgin and Child donated by Maestro Jacopo di Ciglio, known as il Barbialla is an early work of Francesco di Valdambrino executed at the beginning of the 15th century.

The Chapel of Saint Paul and the Inghirami family. Rich in a variety of marble, the chapel was built for Admiral Jacopo Inghirami and designed by Alessandro Pieroni . Giovanni Mannozzi known as Giovanni from S.Giovanni painted the frescoes relating the story of the life of saint Paul on the ceiling. The Baptistry of Volterra appears ,as an interesting detail, in the scene of the “procession to Damascus” in the lunette above the altar while on the right are four members of the Inghirami family one of whom is admiral Jacopo conversing.
On the walls, surrounded by frames executed by Nero di Porta Venere, a canvas of The Mission of St. Paul in Damascus by Matteo Roselli and the Beheading of St. Paul painted on canvas by Domenico Zampieri,( il Domenichino), in 1623.
Above the door to the rectory a canvas of The Immaculate Conception with saints by Cosimo Daddi (16th century.)

The Chapel of Verani. Wood panel of the Immaculate Conception painted by Nicol˛ Cercignani, known as il Pomaracino in 1586.

The Pulpit. The three reliefs of The Last Supper, The Annunciation and the Sacrifice of Isaac and the lions at the base of the columns are undoubtedly 12th century works of the Gugliemo school.. The other elements and the intarsia alabaster were added in 1584, the year in which the balustrade was dismantled and the pulpit was recomposed

Chapel of the Annunciation. Wood panel of The Annunciation by Maria di Mariotto Albertinelli in collaboration with Bartolomeo della Porta who painted the angel in 1497 as the inscription in charcoal behind the painting attests .

The Chapel of Saint Sebastian. Wood panel of the Martydom of St Sebastian painted by Francesco Cungi di Borgo S.Sepolcro in 1588.

The Funeral Monument of Mario Maffei. The prelate dressed in his finery in a dormant pose on the sarcophagus was executed by Giovan Angelo Montorsoli, one of Michelangelo’s assistents and commissioned by members of his family ,Guido and Poalo Riccobaldi del Bava who wished to erect a memorial to the benevolent, renowned humanist and bishop of Cavaillon who died in Volterra in 1537.

The Oratory of the Virgin Mary. Two niches, closed by 17th century wraught iron gates, contain The Nativity with a background fresco of the Journey of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli on the left and the Epiphany on the right. These terracotta painted figures,of almost natural size, have recently been attributed to Giovanni della Robbia.

The Chapel of SS Nome. An elegant architectonical 16th century frame preserves the monogram of Christ donated to Volterra by San Bernardino of Siena encased in a precious silver 18th century shrine.

The Sacresty. Reliqueries surmounted by baldachins and intarsia arches, probably part of a choir executed by Gaspare di Nando di Pelliccione from Colle Val D’Elsa in 1423. A large 17th century cabinet in the form of an altar contains the precious silver reliquary busts of the Volterran saints. Intarsia cabinets with geometric designs and a 15th century white marble sink.


The Duomo

Portale

The Baptistry
The baptistry erected on an octagonal base has been dated as 13th century although some architectural and decorative elements suggest that it was possibly built at an earlier date.
The fašade is adorned with stripes of white and green marble and the main entrance is surmounted by an architrave decorated with the sculptured heads of Christ, the Virgin and the apostles, a work of an artist close to Nicola Pisano. It is said that Brunelleschi offered advise for the construction of the dome in the 15th century.
The interior still maintains an austere simplicity; the marble frieze framing the altar is the work of Mino da Fiesole and Alessandro Balsimelli from Settignano while the wood panel above the altar of The Ascension was painted by Nicol˛ Cercignani in 1591. The baptismal font in the centre is by VaccÓ (1760) while the octagonal marble baptismal font in the corner depicting the Baptising of Christ and the virtues of Faith,Hope,Charity and Justice was sculptured by Andrea Cuntucci , known as Sasovino in 1502.


The epiphany, by Andrea della Robbia,


The nativity, by Andrea della Robbia,

The Bell Tower
The bell tower, seperated from the Cathedral by the chapel of the Virgin Mary, was rebuilt in 1493 after the collapse of the original tower as the inscription around the base attests. There is in fact a tower similar to the one in Volterra in the Santuary of Saints George and Christina in Bolsena that was commissioned by Cardinal Giovanni dei Medici and designed by Sansovino
In all probability Sasovino had been requested to design both the bell tower and the baptismal font which can still be admired in the baptistry bearing the date of 1502.


The Pulpit