Florence is considered a museum without a roof. The Florence Cathedral, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, (“Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower“) is the Duomo di Firenze. Construction began in 1296 in the Gothic style to a design by Arnolfo di Cambio and was structurally completed by 1436, with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Follow these links to find interesting things that you can do in the Piazza del Duomo including:
- Visit the crypt and a climb up the cupola
- Visit the Baptistry
- Visit the Bell Tower and a take a trip to the top for an incredible view
- Check out the newly renovated Museum of the Duomo
The facade is clad with marble panels in various shades of green and pink, bordered by white. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the most important landmark in Florence.
Historic Center of Florence UNESCO:
“Seven hundred years of cultural and artistic blooming are tangible today in the 14th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi gallery, and the Palazzo Pitti. The city’s history is further evident in the artistic works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
UNESCO pictures of Florence:
Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.” UNESCO
The three buildings are linked by distinctive vertical and horizontal bands of colored marble decorating the external walls.
The interesting statues in the niches of the Bell Tower represent the patriarchs, prophets, kings of Israel and pagan sybils.
Giotto’s bell tower
1334 – 1359
The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until the development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) presented plans for a wooden and brick model inspired by the Pantheon with a double-walled circular dome. Brunelleschi used more than 4 million bricks
in the construction of the dome.
On the right side of the square: Brunelleschi is still looking up at his magnificent accomplishment.
Statue by Luigi Pampaloni – 1830
Follow this link to see the internal scaffold for the construction of the dome:
Brunelleschi revolutionary engineering design solution involved a double-walled cupola with horizontal reinforcements resting on a drum instead of the roof. Climb to the top for a spectacular view of Florence.
Inside the cupola there are frescoes, created by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, who worked on the Duomo from 1572 to 1579. The restoration of these ceiling frescoes began in 1978 and was completed in 1994.
The internal walls of the dome were frescoed between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and Federico Zuccari (c. 1990-1609) who represented a large scene of the “Final Judgement” pictured above.
Here’s a Mosaic on the left door by Nicolò Barabino showing
Florentine artisans, merchants and humanists paying homage to the Faith
Porta della Mandorla Lunette by Jacopo della Quercia is pictured below.
Here’s a link to some images of the Duomo:
Go to the newly renovated Duomo Museum to see the originals that were removed from the structures in Piazza del Duomo, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
In the museum, you will see the beautiful reliefs from the Campanile by Giotto and Andrea Pisano.
On the Bell Tower, on each side there are four statues in niches. They have been sculpted in different periods:
- The four statues on the west side were sculpted by Andrea Pisano and date from 1343. These Gothic statues are rather high-reliefs, left unfinished at the back. They represent the Tiburtine Sibyl, David, Solomon and the Erythraean Sibyl.
- The four Prophets on the south side are already more classical in style and date between 1334 and 1341. The statue of Moses and the fourth statue are attributed to Maso di Banco.
- The four Prophets and Patriarchs on the east side date from between 1408 and 1421: the beardless Prophets by Donatello (probably a portrait of his friend, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi), the Bearded Prophet (perhaps by Nanni di Bartolo), Abraham and Isaac (by Donatello and Nanni di Bartolo) and Il Pensatore (the thinker) (by Donatello).
- The four statues on the north side were added between 1420 and 1435: Prophet (probably by Nanni di Bartolo, however signed by Donatello), Habacuc (a masterpiece of Donatello, a tormented and emaciated prophet, portraying Giovanni Chiericini, an enemy of the Medicis), Jeremias (by Donatello, portraying Francesco Soderini, another enemy of the Medicis), Abdias (by Nanni di Bartolo).
The statues in the niches represent the patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel, and pagan sybils.
At the base of the Campanile there is a remarkable set of 54 reliefs –26 hexagonal and 28 rhomboid. T
Look for the hexagonal and rhomboid panels and reliefs on the Bell Tower; they are amazing!
Here’s an interesting explanation of the reliefs:
The hexagonal panels on the lower level depict the history of mankind, inspired by Genesis, starting the west side. The reliefs are by
Luca della Robbia, Giotto, and Nino and Andrea Pisano.
The reliefs in the lower row of the campanile, depict the creation of man and woman, the beginnings of human work, and the (inventors (according to the Bible) of various creative activities: sheep-herding, music, metallurgy, wine-making. In the upper register are the seven planets, beginning with Jupiter at the north corner.
On the other facades, astrology, building, medicine, weaving and other technical and scientific endeavors. In the upper registers are: on the south, the theological and cardinal virtues; on the east, the liberal arts of the Trivium and Quadrivium; to the north, the seven sacraments.
‘Medici’ Will Return For Season 3 To Fulfill All Your Italian Renaissance and Firenze history concerns.
The first season, titled Medici: Masters of Florence, takes place in 1429, the year Giovanni de’ Medici, head of the family, died. Season 3 will show us what happens after the Pazzi Conspiracy in the Basilica di Santa Maria di Medici.
The family tree of The House of Medici
The Renaissance Papacy was dominated by 3 families: the Borgias, the Roveres, and the Medicis. This video discusses the family tree of each and their role in the Italian Renaissance.
For more information on Florence, read Vino con vista Travel Guides available on Amazon.com.
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