The elevated position and the imposing façade overlooking Piazza della Libertà made an immediate impression. Dedicated to St. Peter, it was built between 1474 and 1520 on a pre-existing cathedral, of which there is little information other than some stone elements that were reused in the external sides. The building site was long, complex and tormenting: the Florentine Giuliano da Maiano, a Brunelleschi-trained architect, considered one of the greatest exporters of Florentine taste undertook the great task. Despite its fidelity to the conception of the master, there are some variations, such as the introduction of elements typical of the Romanesque architecture of the Po valley.
The façade, of warm rough brick (toothed bricks) is unfinished and no one is sure what its coating should be: the visible one, in white limestone (only on the basal strip), was arbitrarily started after Giuliano had left the building site. The initial project certainly included a greater illumination than the current one, partially due to the closure of some lateral openings due to altars, eaves and works of art not provided in Giuliano’s original design.
It is an artistically important building (which in the Renaissance is unique at the regional level, with the only evidence of the Tempio Malatestiano of Rimini) and complex, to be visited carefully. All the side chapels contain remarkable works of art. Stop in front of the three most important sculptural monuments: the arches of San Savino, Sant’Emiliano and San Terenzio, by Benedetto da Maiano and anonymous Tuscan Renaissance masters respectively. Do not forget to touch the wooden crucifix carved at the end of the fifteenth century by an unknown Nordic sculptor, perhaps German, or the Pala Bonaccorsi, an exquisite sixteenth-century table painted by Innocenzo Francucci from Imola and still with its original gilded frame. In the homonymous chapel on the left you will find the burial of San Pier Damiano, theologian and teacher of the Church, which Dante posed in the seventh canto of the Paradiso.