This typical Italian Gothic building, the Cathedral of Florence, is dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore. The church was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (c1245-1302) who considerably enlarged the existing religious structure. Finished around 1367, the Cathedral was completely covered by coloured marbles like the earlier Baptistery, except for the facade that remained unfinished and was terminated only in the 19th century.
The project left unfinished also the Dome, since in 1421 only the frame (polygonal base) had been erected. Two architects, Lorenzo Ghiberti (1368-1445) and Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) won the competition although it was the latter who actually built the dome, showing a great mastery of technical knowledge, in 1436.
One of the most remarkable features of the outside of the building is the so-called Porta "della Mandorla" (north) (della mandorla = almond) that was given this name because of the large aureole around the figure of the Virgin sculptured also by Nanni di Banco (1380/90-1421) among others.
Its interior preserves very important works of art: on the left side we find the first two detached frescoes showing the "condottieri" Giovanni Acuto and Niccolò da Tolentino painted respectively by Paolo Uccello in 1436 and by Andrea del Castagno in 1456. Paolo Uccello also frescoed the clock on the inside wall, showing four vigorous heads of saints.
The many sculptures made specifically for the cathedral (many of which have now been moved to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo) comprise also the Lunettes by Luca della Robbia above the doors of the Mass Sacristies. The large Pieta by Michelangelo (c.1553) has instead been removed and transferred to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Most of the splendid stained glass windows were made between 1434 and 1455 to the designs of famous artists like Donatello, Andrea del Castagno and Paolo Uccello. The wooden inlays on the Sacristy's cupboards were designed by Brunelleschi and by other artists, including Antonio del Pollaiolo.
The internal walls of the dome, which have recently been restored, were frescoed between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and Federico Zuccari (c.1540-1609) who represented a large scene of the Final Judgement. The bell tower by Giotto remains, together with the huge dome one of the most striking views of the town.
Piazza del Duomo - Firenze
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00-17:00
Sunday and religious holidays: 13:30–16:45
1st Saturday of the month: 10:00–15:30
January 1, Easter and Christmas: 15:30–16:45
Ash Wednesday: 10:00–16:30
Maundy Thursday: 12:30–16:30
Good Friday: 10:30–16:30
Holy Saturday: 10:30–16:45
Closed on Epiphany
For further informations:
Agenzia per il turismo
Via A. Manzoni 16 – 50121 Firenze
Tel: +39 055 23320
Fax: +39 055 2346286