“Santa Maria del Fiore” is the official Italian name of Duomo Florence, which refers to “Our Lady of the Flower” and this name denoted to the Lily flower, which is emblem is the emblem Florence.
Construction of Cathedral of Florence began in 1296 and completed in 1436. Taking over 140 years to complete it is now the most iconic architectural buildings of the Renaissance art in Florence.
Built over 4 million bricks and weighing over 40 thousand ton, Cathedral of Florence has the largest masonry dome in the world.
Cathedral of Florence was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 13th century and its famous dome was designed by Flippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century.
Filippo Brunelleschi, the man behind this masterpiece dome was the trained goldsmith and this breathtaking cathedral dome was his first architectural masterpiece.
Because of not having the proper design for the Dome, Duomo Florence was under construction for over 100 years and the city pride was at risk with an unfinished cathedral. In the end, an open challenge to the public has offered to seek to find a solution for building Dome without wooden structure, a wooden structure for building a dome requires over 500 trees, lots of manpower and time which results in a huge cost. Flippo Brunelleschi was the man who won the competition and he was the only one who has the idea of building the dome without wooden structure which caught the attention in judges mind.
Duomo Florence has two domes (a dome inside the dome). To make Dome stronger Flippo Brunelleschi’s built a dome inside the outer dome. The inner dome was built to support the large structure of the outer dome. The inner dome was made of sandstone and marble, while the outer dome was consists of brick and mortar. The narrow winding stairs which lead you to the top of the outer dome are built between the two domes.
Stairs which are used by the visitors to climb up the dome were originally built for workers for construction and maintenance work of the dome.
Fillipo Brunelleschi was also known as the father of OX Hoist machine which he had invented for building the giant dome.
It was not possible to build the largest masonry dome in 16 years without the help of OX Hoist.
Filippo Brunelleschi was also the inventor of representing 3D objects in paintings. In ancient time, Greeks and Romans used the 3D techniques for building structures but over the years mathematical laws associated with them were completely lost.
In 1436, the Cathedral of Florence was the largest cathedral in the world and today it is the third largest church in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.
Apart from dome which is covered with tiled bricks, every inch of Duomo outer area is covered with marbles.
Famous Michelangelo’s David sculpture was carved from a leftover block of marble that was abandoned in the Duomo Cathedral’s courtyard. In 1501 Michelangelo granted permission from Opera del Duomo and the uses it to create the Masterpiece David Sculpture.
Filippo Brunelleschi didn’t leave any document, sketches and drawing plan behind, on how he manages to do such extraordinary works during his time.
Vehicles are prohibited near Cathedral as traffic was not taken into account. For cleaning only garbage trucks are permitted through the Piazza del Duomo.
Every year architects, wardens and other workers working on the cathedral had to visit the original model made by Neri di Fioravanti. Here they have to place their hands on the copy of Bible and swear an oath that they would construct the cathedral exactly like the original model.
Visiting Duomo Florence
Duomo is one of the busiest attraction of Florence, so it’s better to book tickets in advance and skip the long-standing lines.
With the purchase of Duomo Ticket you can also access the following in Cathedral Complex:
The Giotto’s Bell Tower and a trip to the top
The crypt and a climb up the cupola ·
The Florence Baptistry also is known as Baptistery of Saint John·
The newly renovated Museum of the Duomo with its incredible collection of artwork.