Rising above the center of the city, this richly embellished cathedral (Santa Maria del Fire) and its large dome have developed into Florence’s most well-known symbols. Typical of the Florentine dedication to lead in all issues, the cathedral remains to be the Tuscan metropolis’s tallest construction, and Europe’s fourth largest church. The Baptistry, with its celebrated bronze doors and host of mosaic panels inside, is certainly one of Florence’s oldest buildings. The Campanile, designed by Giotto in 1334, was finally accomplished in 1359, 22 years after his death.
This informative museum consists of a sequence of rooms devoted to the history of the cathedral. The main floor ground room contains statues from Arnolfo di Cambio’s workshop, which once occupied the cathedral’s niches. Close by is Donatello’s St. John, and Michelangelo’s Pieta can be seen on the staircase. The upperfloor accommodates two choir lofts from the 1430s by Luca della Robbia and Donatello. The haunting statue La Maddalena is also by Donatello.
Lorenzo Ghiberti‘s famous bronze Baptistry doors had been commissioned in 1401 to mark town’s deliverance from the plague. Ghiberti was chosen for the challenge after a contest involving seven leading artists of the day, together with Donatello, Jacopo della Queroa, and Brunelleschi. The trial panels by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi are so totally different from the florentine Gothic artwork of the time, notably in the usage of perspective and individuality of figures, that they’re often thought to be the first works of the Renaissance.
A surprising feat of technical in addition to creative ability, the cathedral’s dome is the epitome of Florentine Renaissance architecture. Development took greater than 14 years, and only started after a prolonged interval of planning and model constructing, throughout which the dome’s architect worked hard to persuade the sceptics that the mission was possible. The dome’s height is 140ft (43 m) and isn’t buttressed; as an alternative, a double wall of spirally laid bricks was strengthened by the use of stone chains.