7 days in Italy-5-19 to 5/25/2022

Day 2- Florence-5/20/2022

Santa Maria del Fiore Basilica

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral designed by Arnolfo di Cambio is the 3rd largest church in the world, after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London.  It was the largest church in Europe when it was completed in the 15th century.  It was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the Virgin of the Flower, which was an allusion to the Lilly, the symbol of the city of Florence.

 

Gloriously located in Piazza del Duomo (Duoma Square) and in the heart of the city.

Standing at 277 feet tall, barely detached from the cathedral façade, Giotto’s bell tower is one of the buildings’ most striking features. The free-standing campanile begun in 1334 by Giotto, who died in 1337 having completed only the first part of the project. Architect Andrea Pisano carried Giotto’s design up to the first two levels, while artists such as Alberto Arnaldi adorned the outside with carved lozenges

 

The Florence Cathedral as we see it today is the end result of years of work, and construction of the building was overseen by several architects throughout the years.

 

Building work began in 1296 under the design of architect Arnolfo di Cambio. The cathedral was erected on the site of Florence’s second cathedral, which was built in the 7th century and dedicated to Santa Reparata (the remains of this ancient can be seen in the crypt).

 

In 1418, a competition announced by Opera del Duomo was held to find a designer for the dome. The winner was sculptor and architect Filippo Brunelleschi who, after many mathematical calculations, decided to build a dome with a slight point, rather than a smooth, round top. It was the first ‘octagonal’ dome in history to be built without a temporary wooden supporting frame, and still to the present day considered one of the most impressive projects of the Renaissance.

 

 

The iconic dome of Florence’s Cathedral, also known as “Duomo di Firenze” and  “Brunelleschi’s dome”, is one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. Constructed between 1420 and 1436 by Filippo Brunelleschi, the dome was considered a true innovation at the time, as it was built without a supporting structure. Plus, at the time, it was the largest dome ever built.

 

There are 3 huge bronze door on the main facade.  The one in the center in the main entrance.

The decoration of the exterior of the cathedral, begun in the 14th century, was not completed until 1887, when the polychrome marble façade was completed with the design of Emilio De Fabris.

 

The exterior walls are faced in alternate vertical and horizontal bands of polychrome marble from Carrara (white), Prato (green), Siena (red), Lavenza and a few other places.

 

 

 

The main bronze portal date from 1899 to 1903.

 

On top of the door, the mosaics in the lunettes were designed by Niccolo Barabino representing Christ enthroned with Mary and John the Baptist.

 

Bronze door adorned with scenes from the life of Madona.

 

Details on the bronze door.

  

The entrance and on the right details on the main facade.

 

Entering the cathedral you will struck by the vastness, openness, and bareness it is as most the art was lost through the centuries or moved into museum.

 

As this cathedral was built with funds from the public, some important works of art in this church honor illustrious men and military leaders of Florence

 

The volume of this cathedral is cavernous, you feel very small in it.

Splendid flooring in colored marble and intricate patterns.

 

The main Nave in the back, circa 1378-1421

 

Fancy candle light holder.  you can buy the candle and lit it.

 

Side wall next to the entrance

 

Statue of Isaih by Nanni di Banco

 

Above the main door is the colossal clock face with fresco portraits of four Prophets or Evangelists by Paolo Uccello (1443).

The stained-glass circular window above the clock, was designed by Gaddo Gaddi in the early 14th century.

 

This one-handed liturgical clock shows the 24 hours of the hora italica (Italian time), a period of time ending with sunset at 24 hours. This timetable was used until the 18th century. This is one of the few clocks from that time that still exist and are in working order.

 

 

There are  44 otherwordly stained glass windows, the largest undertaking of this kind in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries.

 In the aisles and in the transept, you’ll find windows depicting saints from the Old and the New Testament.

 

The ceiling of the dome is decorated with a representation of The Last Judgment. Originally left whitewashed following its completion it was the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici who decided to have the ceiling of the dome painted. This enormous work, 38 750 ft² of painted surface, was started in 1572 by Giorgio Vasari and would not be completed until 1579

 

The upper portion, near the lantern, representing The 24 Elders of Apocalypse was finished by Vasari before his death in 1574. Federico Zuccari with the assistance of Bartolomeo Carducci, Domenico Passignano and Stefano Pieri finished the other portions.

(from top to bottom) Choirs of Angels; Christ, Mary and Saints; Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Beatitudes; and at the bottom of the cupola: Capital Sins and Hell. These frescoes are considered Zuccari's greatest work.

 

 

The main nave with 2 large organs on each side.

 

 

 

The altar is blocked all so you can only see it in a distance.

 

Marble floor with geometric pattern.

 

 

The floor was relaid in marble tiles in the 16th century.

OPA inscription on the floor stands for Ora Pro Aninis (Pray for souls).

 

The crypt is located in the cellar of the Cathedral. You can buy a ticket to get in to see gravestones, mosaics floors from the former church dating from the middle ages. and excavations that uncovered the ancient cathedral.

We opted to skip it.

 

In the front, behind iron bars, and on display is the tomb of Filippo Brunelleshi that was discovered very recently.

 

  

 

NEXT.... Day 2-Boboli garden

 

 

Home

Travel

Our house

Birthdays

Photo Gallery

 Mon  petit coin