Inhabitants in 1991 : 45,695
The Municipal territory of Sansepolcro, extends for 91,48 square kilometres
on the south eastern borders of Toscana, between the left bank of the
Tevere and the Alpe della Luna on the Pennine watershed. Free municipality,
then Seat of Captaincy in the Mediceo State.
Sansepolcro (already nominated as Borgo San Sepolcro), as tradition holds,
would have developed at the beginning of the X century around an oratory
where two pilgrims coming from Palestine had deposited several relics
of Santo Sepolcro. Originally land owned by the Benedettini,
who had founded an Abbey (1012) there, then passed to the Camaldolesi
in the second half of the XII century, only in the first half of the XIII
century did it manage to redeem itself from the Lords of the Abbey
becoming a free municipality, even if under the hidden authority
who arrived to take it over officially in 1301 in the time of Uguccione
della Faggiola. From 1318 Sansepolcro passed first under the Lordship
of Guido Tarlati and then under that of his brother Pier Saccone,
until a league of Ghibellini led by Neri della Faggiola and the
Counts of Montefeltro and Montedoglio, conquered the centre (1335),
which was thus annexed to the municipality of Perugia for the duration
of sixteen years. It returned under the dominion of Pier Saccone in 1351
and then to Neri and Francesco della Faggiola until 1357 ( after an earthquake
which had almost completely destroyed it in 1352), it was taken
over by the Citta di Castello until Guglielmo di Grisak, who represented
the Holy See, ceded Sansepolcro to Galeotto Malatesta, Lord
of Rimini (1370). It became feudal from 1430 to 1440 firstly of
Niccolò Fortebraccio - who had it for a Papal privilege - then
of Bartolomeo d’Alviano and then of Niccolò and Francesco
Piccinino, in 1441 Sansepolcro passed definitively under the dominion
of Firenze, who bought it for 25,000 ducats from Pope Eugenio IV.
It became Seat of Captaincy, it lived, until the threshold of modern
times, a period of high tension for the battle between its two
principle families the Graziani and the Pichi, and for the open
intolerance which was demonstrated of the fact of having to depend on
the Citta di Castello as Diocesan See. Finally in 1515 it was elevated
to Episcopal See by Leone X, like this raising it to the rank of City
and it took on a role of great strategic importance in the Fiorentino
State as outpost on the borders with the Pontiff State and Montefeltro.
After having seen a period of decadence between 1670 and 1723,
Sansepolcro slowly began to flourish (despite two disastrous earthquakes
which struck it in 1781 and 1789) during the government of the Lorena,
whose representatives gave the go ahead for important land reclaim
works which finally allowed the population of part of the territory
until then uninhabitable. Sansepolcro saw the birth of Piero della
Francesca (1420ca - 1492).
|Places to visit :
Palazzo Pichi Sermolli, from 1400s
Palazzo Vescovile, erected on the site of an pre-existing Abbey
first Benedettina then Camaldolese.
Palazzotto Giovagnoli, of XIII century origin, with renaissance
Palazzo della Residenza, constructed in the XIII and XIV centuries,
from 1975 houses the Civic Museum a collection of works for
the most part coming from churches of the area, but also containing
masterpieces by Piero della Francesca.
Porta Fiorentina, closing Via XX Settembre, the medieval “Porta
della Pieve”, the only remains of the ancient urban walls.
Fortress, erected in 1500 projected by Giuliano da Sangallo,
on a preceding structure of the 1300s. In 1800 was transformed into
a farm. It is private property.
Palazzo Alberti, constructed in the XVII century, has the bust
of Cosimo II on the facade.
Duomo, dedicated to S. Giovanno Evangelista, initially it was
the Abbey Church, enlarged and modified from 1300 in the subsequent
centuries until the radical intervention of 1936-1945. The interior
has three naves on columns and of Roman structure with Gothic influences,
and hosts exquisite works of art.
S. Maria delle Grazie, from 1518, has a particular door from
the XVI century in wood worked in basso-rilievo with little skeletons.
S. Agostino, initially the parish church of Santa Maria, it
was remade in 1771 in Baroque style. The bell tower is adapted from
an antique medieval tower.
Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Translated by Ann Mountford