Largely inspired by Gothic traditions, the architecture of the cathedral sports several elements of the renaissance period. A walk around its premises will brief you to a number of painted glass windows and artworks. Known as the largest masonry structure in the world, the cathedral used over 4 million bricks that weighed over 40,000 tonnes. Apart from that, its famous, red-tiled dome is still one of the largest in the world, and is a one of its kind structure which support itself without collapsing.
The Florence Duomo Dome
A striking addition to the Italian skyline, the iconic dome of the cathedral was successfully constructed two centuries later. Since the Italian architects were familiar with the circular shape of the dome, they found the octagonal shape to be challenging at first. However, they soon discovered the recipe for this construction — concrete. It is considered to be a masterpiece, even in today’s time, that is capable of withstanding natural disasters such as earthquakes, lightning strikes as well as the passage of time. The dome is crowned by a lantern which has a conical roof. Built after Brunelleschi’s death in 1446, the roof has a gilt copper sphere and a cross on the top which contains holy relics. The inner shell of the dome was later frescoed by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari between 1572 to 1579, with the iconic painting of ‘The Last Judgement’.
The Florence Baptistery, or The Baptistry of San Giovanni is constructed opposite to the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The Octagonal Florence Baptistery AKA the Baptistery of Saint John, is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. The Baptistry is renowned for the 3 large bronze doors decored with relief sculptures. The Italian poet Dante and many other notable Renaissance figures were baptized in this baptistry.
Built using white Carrara and green Prato marble, it is covered by a dome of eight segments resting on its perimetral wall. The structure has been a source of faith, art and history through the years and is today best known for its elaborate mosaic decor that has been around since the 13th century. Some of the horizontal registers that are superimposed in the layers tell the story of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, of Jesus, of Joseph and of the Creation of the World. The centre of its massive dome sees a painting of The Angelic Hosts.
Things To Do Around Piazza Del Duomo, Florence
The quiet climb that leads to the top of the Giotto's Campanile is a unique way of witnessing the Cathedral’s beauty from different heights and angles. From atop, you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Florence and see the Florence Cathedral architecture from up close. This is a great spot for capturing some memorable photos of the panoramic views, the dome and the façade of the Church.
Originally built to be a grain market, Orsanmichele became a Church for crafters and traders’ guild near the end of 14th Century. The ducts in the ceiling that were used to pour grain inside are still there for the visitors to see. The building is also accentuated with stained glass windows and a white alter that are worth seeing. The Church is free to visit and is located between the Duomo and Piazza Della Signoria.
When you walk towards Piazza Della Signoria from Orsanmichele, you will pass through a market full of souvenirs and memorabilia. On one side of this market, there is a bronze boar which is called ‘Porcellino’ or the piglet by the Italians. According to the tradition, visitors put a coin in the boar’s mouth and if it spills out, they will have good luck, and if they rub its snout, they will return to Florence.
While you are in Florence, consider visiting the Uffizi Florence which is known to be the most famous museum in Florence. The beautiful building is home to an exclusive collection of art works by famous Italian artists like Giotto and Michelangelo. The museum also houses a good collection of Botticelli’s work, including his 1486 work, The Birth of Venus.