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Museums in Florence: IL "DUOMO"
The Cathedral and the GIOTTO's Belltower

Cathedral and Giotto's Belltower

Duomo e Cattedrale di Giotto

in collaboration with
Museums of FlorenceHidden Italy




The typical Italian Gothic building, the Cathedral of Florence, is dedicated to "Santa Maria del Fiore". The church was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (c1245-1302) who considerably enlarged the existing religious structure. Finished around 1367, the Cathedral was completely covered by coloured marbles like the earlier Baptistery, except for the façade that remained unfinished and was terminated only in the 19th century.

The project left unfinished also the Dome, since in 1421 only the frame (polygonal base) had been erected. Two architects, Lorenzo Ghiberti (1368-1445) and Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) won the competition although it was the latter who actually built the dome, showing a great mastery of technical knowledge, in 1436.

One of the most remarkable features of the outside of the building is the socalled "Porta della Mandorla"(north) (della mandorla = almond) that was given this name because of the large aureole around the figure of the Virgin sculptured also by Nanni di Banco (1380/90-1421) among others.

Its interior preserves very important works of art: on the left side we find the first two detached frescoes showing the "Condottiero Giovanni Acuto"and "Niccolò da Tolentino" painted respectively by Paolo Uccello in 1436 and by Andrea del Castagno in 1456. Paolo Uccello also frescoed the clock on the inside wall, showing four vogorous "heads of saints". The many sculptures made specifically for the cathedral (many of which have now been moved to the "Museo dell«Opera del Duomo"), comprise also the "Lunettes" by Luca della Robbia above the doors of the Mass Sacristies. The large "Pietà" by Michelangelo (c. 1553) has instead been removed and transferred to the "Museo dell«Opera del Duomo".

Most of the splendid stained glass windows were made between 1434 and 1455 to the designs of famous artists like Donatello, Andrea del Castagno and Paolo Uccello. The wooden inlays on the Sacristy«s cupboards were designed by Brunelleschi and other artists, including Antonio del Pollaiolo.

The internal walls of the dome, which have recently been restored, were frescoed between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and Federico Zuccari (c. 1540-1609) who represented a large scene of the "Final Judgement".

The bell tower by Giotto remains, together with the hudge dome one of the most striking views of the town. The famous painter, Giotto, was in fact also the architect of the project for the bell tower, although by the time of his death (1337) only the lower part had been completed. The works continued under the direction of Andrea Pisano (c. 1290-1349) and Francesco Talenti (not. 1325-1369) who completed the project.


The Brunelleschi Cupola
The cathedral was completed in 1434
and is the most important landmark in Florence,
as well as being the fourth largest
church in the world.
Giotto's Belltower
The Cathedral facade
inside the cathedral Paolo Uccello painted the clock face on the counter-façade in 1446
The twenty-four hours are in Roman numerals and counterclockwise according to the position of the hours on sundials.
Porta della Mandorla

The reliefs in the lower row depict the
creation of man and woman, the
beginnings of human work, and the "inventors"
(according to the Bible) of various creative activities:
sheep-herding, music, metallurgy, wine-making.
In the upper register are the 7 planets,
beginning with Jupiter at the north corner.
On the other facades, in the lower register
we find astrology, building,
medicine, weaving and other technical and
scientific endeavors.
In the upper registers are: on the south,
the theological and cardinal virtues; on the east,
the liberal arts of the Trivium and Quadrivium;
to the north,
the seven sacraments.
The statues in the niches represent
the patriarchs, prophets and kings
of Israel, and pagan sybils.
Originals can be found in the:
Musem dell'Opera del Duomo

Giotto's Belltower
Inside the cupola: 3600 m2 of frescos,
created by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari,
who worked there from 1572 to 1579.
The restoration of these ceiling frescos began
in 1978 and was completed in 1994.
The Nave

On the right side of the square,
Brunelleschi is still looking up at his work

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