In English, “Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore” translates to “Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower”. It is a stunning example of Gothic design, which was started in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio. Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore was built on the grounds of a former church, Saint Reparata, built in the 5th century. Saint Reparata was deteriorating, and deemed not large enough for the growing city, so they began a new, larger cathedral in the late 1200’s.
The cathedral was completed in 1436, with the Duomo (Dome) engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior consists of pink, green and white polychrome marble panels. The facade was completed in a Gothic Revival style by Emilio de Fabris. The Dome remains the largest brick dome ever constructed, and the cathedral is one of Italy’s largest.
I hope you have your walking/climbing shoes on today….because I promised you we’d be climbing the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo/Dome! The stairway and walls are cool, because the walls are thick mortar, much like a basement wall. Many of the steps are pie-shaped wedges, that go in a spiral design, as if you were climbing lighthouse steps. Every once in awhile, you come to a flat area with a window, or a set of straight, wide, flat stairs. It’s a nice change. When you get to the door near the top, you are just below the marvelous painted ceiling. There is a safe walkway all the way around the inner dome, so you can view this beautiful painted ceiling. At the end of the circular walkway is another door, and once again, you continue your ascent to the top. When you reach the top, there’s a wide area to walk around, with a railing and benches. Beautiful marble arches dissect the dome’s top walkway. It’s quite a sight as you gaze down upon Florence and the surrounding countryside. It makes the climb very worthwhile!
Here we go on today’s tour: the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Duomo..views from the top. I don’t have interior photos from the Basilica.
Thanks for going along today! The next post will be San Gimignano, Italy~ a wonderful walled hill-town in Tuscany. If you want more information about Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, click here. The story of the building of the Duomo by Brunelleschi is an amazing story, and I believe this link tells about it.
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