The entrance of the museum

An open portico embellished by 11th century sandstone pillars gives access to the Museum of Sacred Art housed in the Bishop’s Palace.
The museum was established and officially opened on the 20th December 1932 by Canon Maurizio Cavallini. Throughout the years the museum has been periodly closed to the public.The building was damaged during the war in 1944 and reopened on the 4th June 1956 and
due to recent restoration work, was reopened on the 19th December 1992.
The Museum displays works of art from the cathedral and the churches of the diocese and a particularly interesting collection of wooden and fictile sculptures, holy vestments, ecclesiastical furnishings and the only remaining 14th century marble sculptures once housed in the Cathedral.
The stairway leading to the museum is decorated with splendid 10th century architraves from the Pieve di San Lorenzo in Montalbano. The marble cherub frieze is the work of Mino da Fiesole and the eleven trilobed arches and marble columns may have originally belonged to the choir of the San Giusto Abbey.
The first room exhibits wooden fragments taken from the coffered ceiling of the cathedral.in the 19th century. The carved figures are the work of the sculptor Jacopo Pavolini who in collaboration with the architect Francesco Capriani completed the ceiling in the 16th century.
Six elegant 13th century marble intarsia panels of the Pisan school of art which orinally served as the balustrade of the high altar in the cathedral and plaster casts of the eight marble panels
below the Incontri funeral monument in the catherdral.
The seven 14th century rectangular reliefs depicting episodes of the lives of saints Ottaviano and Vittore are particularly noteworthy. Four of the panels relate the story of the procession and martyrdom of Saint Vittore while the other three relate the story of Saint Ottaviano.Venturi has attributed the seven panels to Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura.


Illuminated Antiphonaries

The earliest works in marble are the four portrait medallions in relief of Saints Giusto, Clemeente, ttaviano and Vittore attributed to the great artist Tino da Camaino.
The Roman sarcophagus dates back to the first centuries A.D. reutilized in 1037 as a funeral monument to Bishop Goffredo.
The tomb stone portraying the warrior Michele Pigi Buonaguidi of Volterra dressed in armour and wielding a sword was sculptured in 1378.
In the next room Madonna and child with two angels , (the kneeling figures are the two who commissioned the painting) by Giovanni d’Agostino.
The Madonna enthroned with child originally displayed in the lunette above the main entrance of the church of San Michele attests an intensive artistic revival during the first half of the 14th century.
A noteworthy and finely painted wood panel The Crucifixion by a disciple of Giunta Pisano.

A wood panel, considered to be one of Daniele Ricciarelli’s masterpieces Madonna enthroned and child with Saints Peter and Paul was executed in 1545.
A fine collection of silver and a bronze gilded Crucifix by Giambologna commissioned for the Chapel of San Poalo in the Cathedral by Admiral Inghirami.
The pala from Villamagna was painted by Rosso Fiorentino in 1521, the same year as the celebrated Deposition housed in the Art Gallery.
The show cases display leather holders, crosses, censers,incense boats and among the many reliquaries there is an exquisite reliquary bust of Sant’Ottaviano in embossed silver and gilded copper by Antonio del Pollaiolo, a work handed over to the Commune of Volterra in1534. There is also a beautiful double faced silver cross embossed with a leaf and acorn motif
executed by the same artist (above) donated by Mario Maffei on the 15th August 1535 to replace
a similar work stolen by Ferrucci in 1530.
A silver bust reliquary of San Vittore which Ricci attributed to Antonio of Volterra datable to the beginning of the 15th century.The small lions at the base of the reliquary are the works of the 14th century Sienese masters Ugino di Vieri and Viva di Lando.
A casket of gilded copper inlaid with imitation gems utilized as a reliquary was originally a gift from the Empress of Austria to Bishop Antinori and according to Ricci is a work of Benvenuto Cellini.
The alabaster ciborium 1575 and the marble and alabaster holy water font 1567 are two exquisite examples of the revival of the alabaster craft interrupted during the Middle Ages.
A collection of 15th -19th ecclesiastical furnishings and holy vestments, two parchment antiphonaries with Gregorian notations and exquisitely illuminated by the monk, Agostino in 1299, six illuminated antiphonaries donated by Antonio Zeno to the Volterran bishops Francesco Soderini who later became cardinal and his nephew Giuliano conclude the visit of this small but interesting museum.


Bust of Saint Ottaviano (attributed to Pollaiolo )

Painted crucifix by a Tuscan master, XIIIth century