Hereford Cathedral's copy of the famous Magna Carta has gone on display in Italy.

The Cathedral agreed to lend out one of its most prized possessions to an exhibition, partly in the hope that it could spur more Italian visitors to Hereford.

But what links Magna Carta - the foundation stone of British democracy - and a church in the town of Vercelli in north-west Italy?

The church at Vercelli - the Basilica of Sant’Andrea - is celebrating the 800th anniversary of its founding in 1219.

The foundation stone was laid by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri, who was also the papal legate to England and instrumental in the creation and ratification of the 1217 Magna Carta, which brought to an end the civil war in the reign of King John.

Magna Carta was unveiled at the exhibition in a special ceremony including a large number of dignitaries last week.

The Revd Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, said: “This is the first time this document has ever been displayed in Italy.”

“Bicchieri has a very important place in England as one of the people who helped to safeguard the Magna Carta."

Glyn Morgan of Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, said: ‘We hope this will raise the profile of Hereford and encourage visitors from Italy to visit the cathedral, the county and the diocese over the coming year.’

*All pictures supplied by Giorgio Morero