Santa Maria del Fiore
The main cathedral of Florence, dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, is perhaps named after the city, whose symbol is the lily flower, and boasts the famous dome by Brunelleschi. It is the third largest cathedral in the world, rising 91 meters high from the base of the lantern, offering a stunning view of the city.
An example of Florentine Gothic style, construction of the cathedral began in 1296 under Arnolfo di Cambio and was continued by Giotto, who added the bell tower in 1334 at the request of the Signoria. All the facades are made of polychrome marble: white Carrara, green Prato, and red Maremma. The facade was added in 1873 by the architect Emilio De Fabris.
Facts & Trivia
Next to the cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistery, an octagonal-shaped building where Dante was baptized. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, it was Florence’s cathedral until 1128. The Porta del Paradiso presents episodes from the Old Testament. The dome of the cathedral, which Brunelleschi designed and constructed from 1420 to 1434, is a masterpiece of architecture that inspired Michelangelo’s dome of St. Peter’s in Rome. Climbing the 414 steps of Giotto’s bell tower leads to a terrace from which one can admire the green hills surrounding Florence.