The Hospice was the original settlement chosen by the Benedictines as the site for a coenoby, to be built in accordance with the tradition which has it that the pilgrims Aegidius and Arcadius, returning from Christendom, decided to stop in this valley of leafy walnut trees, and subsequently set up a small chapel there.
The history of the present Cathedral is characterized by a variety of events, starting with the transfer of the ancient Benedictine abbey to the Camaldolese Order, followed by the work carried out by the Abbey Graziani, its raising to the status of Cathedral, the sixteenth-century works carried out by Bishop Niccolò Tornaboni, up to the restoration work carried out during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The volume is divided into two parts:
- the first part contains a collection of articles offering a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the building’s architectural history, including the construction and destruction of altars, the pictorial decorations - some of which are still visible, while others have been transferred elsewhere, and some are mentioned in the historical documents but can no longer be traced -, the gold artefacts, the manuscripts, the canonicals, the forms of worship and rituals associated with individual prayer items, including the important events surrounding the Holy Face, transferred to the Cathedral in 1770 by St. Augustine
- the second part of the volume is also extremely interesting, as it offers a detailed account of the works still to be found in the Cathedral, specifically designed to offers visitors a readily accessible guide to the building and its history, with individual sections containing a series of unusual items of information, anecdotes and exotica.
The volume is arranged as follows:
• foreword by Archbishop Riccardo Fontana
• foreword by Don Alberto Gallorini
• introduction by Liletta Fornasari
• selected historical events: documents and miscellaneous tit-bits. Franco Polcri
• the Church of Saint John The Evangelist, from an Abbey to Sansepolcro’s Cathedral: the construction sequence from the origins to 1770. Anna Pincelli
• the Holy Face in the Cathedral: an occasion for further restoration work. Restoration from 1770 up to the 20th century. Luca Brandini, Giuseppe Alberto Centauro, Alessandra Fusi
• Sansepolcro Cathedral in the Fifteenth Century: altars, patronage, works of art. Andrea Di Lorenzo, Cecilia Martelli, Matteo Mazzalupi
• decorative works from the Cathedral’s one thousand-year history: traces of those works no longer to be found on site. Theories and finds. Liletta Fornasari
• the Holy Face. Paola Refice
• documentary evidence. Caterina Tristano
• one thousand years of faith: the art of the goldsmith. Silvia Pichi
• from the vestiary to the sacristy: the textile “treasures” recounted through the documentary archives. Lorenzo Pesci
• devotion and liturgy: a cultural history. Franca Guerrini
• catalogue of those works visible inside the Cathedral. Liletta Fornasari
• documentary appendix
• index of names, by Laura Amerighi.