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Italy: Florence Cathedral

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Florence Cathedral | Italy | Europe

[Visited: January 2003]

At the end of the Middle Ages, Florence was one of the city states. It wanted to show it by building a cathedral that would put all other cathedrals in its shadow, literally. In 1296, the first stone was laid for what would become Florence's star, so big that 'it put all Tuscans in its shadow' according to a contemporary. He wrote this when the famous architect Brunelleschi finished the enormous dome of the cathedral, together with the belltower the main eyecatcher of the building. The dome was finished only in the 15th century and is, in fact, not completely in the Gothic style of the rest of the cathedral.

Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Florence Cathedral with cupola and tower

In front of the Cathedral, officially called Santa Maria del Fiore, lies the octagonal Baptistery, which is actually older than the Cathedral. This becomes especially clear when you go inside, and you see the brilliant Byzantine mosaics covering the ceiling. Also of particular importance are the doors on three sides of the building. Especially the last pair of doors, designed by Ghiberti and dubbed the "Doors of Paradise" by Michelangelo are worth a close look. Ghiberti worked more than 25 years on them, and it shows!

Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Dome of Florence Cathedral from above

After walking around the Cathedral and the other buildings, the belltower is completely detached from the building, it is time to go inside. Unfortunately, I was not able to climb to the top of the dome, but I did go up the belltower and inside the Cathedral. The view from the belltower is truly spectacular. While I was enjoying it, the bells below started to strike, which resulted in heavenly waves of metallic sounds from below. And then I realized - it was noon.

Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Detail of Florence Cathedral
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Florence Cathedral: front view
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Dome of Florence Cathedral from below
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Sculptures outside Florence Cathedral
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Statues of Doors of Paradise, Ghiberti, Florence
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Florence Cathedral: looking through
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Belltower of Florence Cathedral from below
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Roof of baptistery, Florence Cathedral
Picture of Florence Cathedral (Italy): Dome of Florence Cathedral from below

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