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Uffizi Gallery

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The Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

The cathedral of Florence, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and Giotto's bell tower, a marvel to be discovered!

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the fifth largest church in Christianity.

"Duomo" is a word that derives from the Latin "domus", or "house". The Cathedral is the house of the Lord and of his people.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the fifth largest church in Christianity. The building has a peculiar plan, consisting of a body with three naves joined by a huge tricone rotunda with the task of supporting Brunelleschi's immense dome, the so-called Cupolone.

Filippo Brunelleschi's Dome is the largest in masonry ever built. The structure is particularly complex: it is spread over eight segments organized on two caps separated by an empty space. The aim is undoubtedly to lighten the structure that otherwise would have been too heavy to be supported by the four pillars below.

Brunelleschi revolutionized the construction method, giving the dome a profound sense of perspective.

In the middle of the Mannerist period, the task of painting the dome was entrusted to Federico Zuccari who completed it in a few years, representing a figurative cycle unprecedented in size and finish.


In the medieval period, churches were built close to the medieval walls. Only later they were incorporated into the city.

Around the end of the thirteenth century, Florence underwent a great political and cultural expansion and the Church of Santa Reparata, the basilica that is now located under the Duomo, was no longer in line with the evolution of the city. There was the creation of a new civic center, later called Piazza della Signoria, and urban expansion was necessary and the need to build a church more suited to a city that has become as powerful as Florence.

In 1294 they tried to enlarge and consolidate the church of Santa Reparata, finally the city government decided for the total reconstruction of the structure with such dimensions as to eclipse the basilicas of the opposing cities, such as Pisa and Siena.

The works began under the direction of Arnolfo di Cambio who proceeded to leave the church of Santa Reparata able to function as long as possible.

On his death the works stopped, until the project passed into the hands of Francesco Talenti in 1349 who is credited with creating the bell tower and finishing the nave, opting for a reduction of the spans thus creating an almost square plan.


The facade of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was started at the time of its construction, but not being in line with the rest of the work, it was demolished in 1587 and completed around the nineteenth century by the architect De Fabris, who is still present today.

The style adopted is the neo-Gothic one with an important attention to the use of materials: Carrara marble, green and red serpentine from Siena.

The windows of the first bay, identical to the corresponding ones on the northern side, are three surmounted by aedicules containing the statues, some of which are casts of the originals.

The upper windows are circular "eyes", a feature dictated by the desire not to raise the nave too much but still provide good lighting.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is, after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the Cathedral of Seville and the Cathedral of Milan, the largest in size in the world. In fact, it can contain thirty thousand people.


The complex of the Duomo of Florence is composed of two other buildings of enormous artistic importance, also symbols of the city, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and Giotto's bell tower and the homonymous museum, also located in this square, but on the opposite side of the church facade.

For those visiting Florence for the first time, we cannot fail to recommend a visit to this grandiose monumental complex, perhaps even accompanied by an expert guide. The tour usually lasts 3 hours and includes a fascinating walk to discover the three monuments, the entrance to the baptistery and on request also the entrance to the cathedral with a climb to the dome. The second part of the guided tour instead takes place inside the Opera del Duomo museum, here in addition to numerous works of art of great value, it is possible to admire the facade of the old basilica that once stood where now there is Santa Maria del Fiore even in 1: 1 scale. An experience therefore not to be missed.


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The Uffizi Gallery houses the largest collection of paintings from Romanesque period to the 18th century. Nowadays the Uffizi still accommodates famous masterpieces exhibited in chronological order