9 Fun Facts About The Duomo Florence 

There are over 300 duomos in Italy, but when people mention “The Duomo,” they usually talk about the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. 

This square houses fantastic buildings, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, and Giotto’s Campanile. 

While visitors know about the cathedral’s beauty and the dome that dominates the Florence skyline, there are many exciting things to learn before visiting. 

This article will talk about the top 10 facts about Florence Duomo. 

Cathedral Of Santa Maria Del Fiore Took Over 140 Years To Complete

Building the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral took 140 years to complete because the original plans were quite ambitious. 

They started in 1293, before the Renaissance, even though they didn’t have all the technology they needed, especially for the dome. 

They went ahead with construction, leaving the dome roof unfinished for many years, which is why it took so long, over a century and a half, to finish the cathedral.

The Winner of a Competition in 1401 Designed The Gates Of Paradise On The Baptistery

Years ago, a committee in Florence organized a contest to decorate the baptistery’s doors. 

They provided the same materials to contestants, including Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti, who were both 23 years old. 

Despite presenting the same biblical scene, Ghiberti won with his classic style over Brunelleschi’s more innovative approach. 

Later, Michelangelo praised the doors, calling them the “Gates of Paradise.” 

Brunelleschi’s work, although not chosen, was groundbreaking, reflecting humanist ideas and the beginning of the Renaissance.

The Cathedral was Dome-less until Brunelleschi was Born

At the time of Brunelleschi’s birth, the cathedral had already been under construction for 80 years without the dome. 

As they kept building the cathedral, it got bigger and fancier than planned, but they still didn’t know how to make the dome-shaped roof. 

Nobody, not even the artists who came up with the idea, knew how to do it. 

Brunelleschi won the competition in 1418 to build the dome and complete the duomo. 

In 1436, the dome was completed amid constant criticism about the artist being untrained.

Brunelleschi Won the Competition to Build the Dome with an Egg

While  Brunelleschi’s innovative approach did not get him the commission for the baptistery door, it won him the chance to build the dome. 

He won the competition without actually unveiling the plans to the judges. 

When all the contestants brought model domes with them, he carried an egg for the contest. 

He challenged the judges to rest the egg straight on the table so he could show his plan. 

When all the judges failed, he smashed the bottom of the egg to make it stand up straight. 

The confused panel of judges decided to trust Brunelleschi and hand over the dome to him. 

A Man With No Architectural Training Designed The Dome Of Santa Maria Del Fiore

The artist who made the dome of Duomo Florence wasn’t trained as an architect. 

Filippo Brunelleschi was a goldsmith with no prior knowledge of architecture and construction. 

Inspired by the egg, he built a dome with an inner and outer shell hoisted by an ox-drive system. 

He invented an ox-driven hoist system to build a dome without a centering, thus leading to the construction of the world’s largest brick dome without any support. 

This groundbreaking invention has laid the basics of modern engineering. 

Brunelleschi’s Influence On Tuscan Cuisine

Brunelleschi built a big brick furnace in a nearby town to construct the dome. 

While working on the dome, he often visited the town and tried their famous beef stew – Peposo. 

Brunelleschi liked it so much that he brought it back to Florence and shared it with his workers. 

Now, Peposo is a famous dish in Florence that tourists must try when they visit.

The Bell Tower Was Built After Seeing Siena’s Bell Tower

When Siena built a big bell tower, Florence wanted one too! 

Giotto designed it in 1334, and along with the dome, it’s still one of Florence’s most famous landmarks today.

Back in the day, the front of the cathedral wasn’t as fancy as it is now. 

Hence, the 84-meter-tall bell tower was the most impressive thing about Santa Maria del Fiore until the dome was finished.

Giotto only designed the first floor, with sculptures showing different jobs from medieval times. 

After he died, Pisano worked on the second floor, and then Talenti finished the tower.

Today, visitors can take 400 steps to climb Gitto’s Bell Tower and enjoy the most picturesque view of Florence.

The Cathedral of Florence was built on a small church

The Santa Maria del Fiore was built on the remains of another church built during the 4th to 6th centuries. 

Today, visitors can descend under the cathedral to visit the old church – Santa Reparta. 

The Crypt of Santa of Reparta houses artifacts of cultural and religious history. 

Pantheon Rome Inspire the Construction of Santa Maria del Fiore

The people of Florence wanted to move away from the traditional Gothic style to a more grand architecture. 

Hence, the architects looked to Rome for inspiration and found the Pantheon. 

Featured Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!