I didn’t do much research on Florence so imagine my surprise when we reached the Piazza del Duomo and saw this amazingly beautiful cathedral made with pink and green marble. I’ve never seen any church like that.
Florence’s cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which can be seen in the crypt.
The cathedral was begun at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio, and the dome, which dominates the exterior, was added in the 15th century on a design of Filippo Brunelleschi. A statue to each of these important architects can be found outside to the right of the cathedral, both admiring their work for the rest of eternity. Can you imagine it took two centuries for the cathedral to be deemed finished? source
I didn’t bother attempting to climb the Giotto’s bell tower (campanile) since my knees are extremely bad but Rochelle and Sharon did and were treated to an up close look at the fresco on the dome’s ceiling. The next six pictures were from Rochelle and Sha’s cameras.
They told me it was a good thing I didn’t go since the climb up and down the 463 steps was really hard with the steep steps, low ceiling, narrow width and very hot temperature. They were both very exhausted when they came down.
Its origins are unknown although it is believed that it was built over the ruins of a Roman temple dedicated to Mars dating back to the 4th-5th century A.D. It was first described in 897 as a minor basilica. In 1128 it was consacrated as the Baptistery of Florence and as such is the oldest religious monument in Florence. Up until the end of the 19th century, all catholics in Florence were baptized within its doors.
The Baptistery, dedicated to Florence’s patron saint, has an octagonal plan and an octagonal lantern with a cupola. Outside it is clad in geometrically patterned colored marble, white Carrara marble and green Prato marble that is typical of Florentine Romanesque architecture. source
Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni
The Gates of Paradise received their name by Michelangelo who is believed to have exclaimed: “they are so beautiful that they would be perfect for the gates of paradise”.
The doors consist of 10 rectangular panels, displayed in two lines. They depict scenes of the Old Testament from left to right and from top to bottom. In each panel, Ghiberti described more than one scene so that there are over fifty scenes depicted. All around the frame of the doors Ghiberti added 24 small bronze busts of famous Florentines, including his own self-portratit.
The original panels of the Gates of Paradise are now displayed at the Opera del Duomo Museum, the ones in situ are copies. source
Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti, 1525
top panel – Noah middle panel – Jacob and Esau
more information on the panels here
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Piazza Duomo, 17 – 50122 Florence
11:15 pm – 6:30 pm
Sunday: 8:30 am – 2 pm
1st Saturday of the month: 8:30 am – 2 pm