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Santa Maria del Fiore: the architectural majesty of Florence

GO-ON-ITALY Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore

The imposing Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore rises in the heart of Florence. Masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a symbol of the artistic centrality of Renaissance Italy, this extraordinary cathedral, Florence Cathedral, is one of the most visited and admired places of our country. Let’s see together what are the peculiarities that make it unique.

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Brunelleschi’s dome: the genius’s enterprise

The main feature of Santa Maria del Fiore is its dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. A masterpiece of engineering and architectural design, it is still considered a a real genius enterprise, given the times in which it was built.

Realizing such a large dome, which had to be self-supporting, that is without the aid of scaffolding or external supports, challenged the architectural knowledge of the time. Brunelleschi solved this problem by introducing a series of innovations, including the use of iron chains and thin, lightweight, herringbone bricks. The dome is 114 meters high and remains one of the largest in the world.

Inside the dome, the frescoes by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari represent the Last Judgement, an epic work that covers an area of over 3600 square meters. The panoramic view from the dome is spectacular and allows visitors to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Florence.

GO-ON-ITALY Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore the dome
Florence – The Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore

The polychrome facade

The facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore is a work of art in itself. The original, rich in statues, was designed by the legendary architect Arnolfo di Cambio, and today is rebuilt inside the Cathedral Museum. The ancient facade was demolished in 1587 and remained unfinished until the nineteenth century, when the project by Emilio De Fabris was completed, the one still visible today, which skilfully combines the white of Carrara, the green of Prato and the rose of Siena.

GO-ON-ITALY Florence Santa Maria del Fiore the facade
Florence – The polychrome facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore

The interior of the basilica

Inside the basilica, visitors will be greeted by an explosion of art and spirituality. The vastness of the interior spaces is impressive, with a central nave that extends for 153 meters, and side altars and chapels that host extraordinary works of art.

The Cappella Maggiore, the central element, houses the high altar, dominated by a marble crucifix carved by Benedetto da Maiano. The altar is surrounded by an elaborate carved choir, which presents a series of wooden stalls designed by Baccio Bandinelli and Giuliano di Baccio d’Agnolo between 1547 and 1572. This choir replaced an older one, from 1520, which in turn had taken the place of that of Filippo Brunelleschi.

GO-ON-ITALY Florence Santa Maria del Fiore the interior
Florence – The inside of the dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Baptistery of San Giovanni: the “Door of Paradise”

The baptistery, dedicated to San Giovanni, is also wonderful. The building, Romanesque, is located in front of the facade of the basilica. This baptistery is famous for its three bronze doors, including the “Door of Paradise” which is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of medieval sculpture, by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The original doors were replaced by copies in 1990 to preserve the original works.

GO-ON-ITALY Florence - The Baptistery of San Giovanni and Giotto’s Bell Tower
Florence – The Baptistery of San Giovanni and Giotto’s Bell Tower

The bell tower of Giotto

The bell tower of Giotto, located next to the basilica, is a bell tower 85 meters high, on top of which you arrive after climbing 398 steps. An immense effort, certainly, repaid by a view of the city and the basilica itself that has no equal.

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The Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore is an architectural and artistic jewel that enchants and fascinates visitors from all over the world: we can not wait to bring you!

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