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Florence Dome - Baptistry - Bell tower of Giotto

view of dome and giottto bel towerSanta Maria del Fiore. The building of the Dome of Saint Mary of the Flower, started after the project of Arnolfo di Cambio the 8 th September od 1296. The first project in fact was different compared to the actual building. It was smaller especially on the ending part. Mr. Brunelleschi, modified it, changing it in the actual map. He modified the dimension of the windows as well, making them smaller and projecting the smart dome. During that time, the Florence cathedral was the biggest and the most magnificent in the world. In details, Arnolfo directed the works till he dead in 1310. After that date all works were going slower till 1331 when they started again fast. The magistrates of “Art of Whool” (corporation) got control of the building works. In 1334 Giotto become master builder but he put his attention more into building a bell tower then really follow the cathedral work. In fact, in 1337 Giotto dead leaving vacant the building master place. With a certain direction, works continued in alternate speeds till 1367 when the city farmed out a working competition to the best offer and 4 carvers got it. In 1378 was completed the ceiling of the central nave and in 1380 ended the works even for both aisles. The Cathedral reveals in all its part the changing taste of the people during the ages. Outside, on both flanks, with the blind arches, we can find memories of Romanesque style. The inner structure, Ingresso Museo Opera del Duomowith groin-vaultings, together the windows and the doors, is gothic. The Dome is in renaissance style. The façade, even if it has some gothic representations, is from the 1800. On the left flank there is the big mandel-door from the XV century with it's ornamental and architectural design is unfinished facade of s maria del fioregothic. The plant represent a Latin cross divided in three naves by 2 lines of pilasters in different styles which sustain groin longs arches. The frescoes on the left nave were painted by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno. The terracottas on the lunettes over the doors of the 2 sacristies were made by Luca della Robbia. By Lorenzo Giberti the project of the rose window.

frescoes of the florentine domeIn 1461 was built the lantern over the dome. In 1572, Vasari started to paint in fresco the inner side of the dome. In the original projectthe dome had to be decorated with mosaic works. In this time was impossible to calculate the total weight of all structure (dome and mosaic work), so they decided to do not risk a total crash. Today we are know that the entire dome is 26,000 tons, all brought up by men and animals. We even know that the dome and the structure, is able to support even a mosaic work like was originally projected. In fact Vasari had time to finish the first ring of frescoes and the owner to paint the rest of the dome, passed on Federico's Zuccari hands who finished the opera. Lucypher like all other figures is 8 and half meters tall (three Florentine arms). He was proud to mention it on his testament. In 1886 at the end, the Façade was finished. Made it with white Carrara marbles, green Prato marbles and red marbles from Siena . On the right pic, the unfinished Façade of the cathedral.

External of florence baptistryCuriosity. In Florence is used to say “bischero” to someone stupid or not reasonable. The origin for this appellation, come from the works of building Florence cathedral. When Florence and his administration, decided to enlarge the old cathedral, they had to buy the plots of ground around S. Reparata. Bischeri was the second name of a rich Florentine family, owner of some of this plots. The offert made by “opera del duomo” to buy them with the wood houses built over, was considered not enough high compared to the target of the opera's administrators. Bischeri waited too much to sell them. A night, we don't know how, all the houses were destroyed by a big blaze and the value of the plots, felt totally down. There is a second version of this story: Bischeri family made a reasonable business evaluation about the plots. Before the works started, the value of the plots was not too high. After the cathedral, the value of the plots'd become surely higher. They decide to get the money after the opera del duomo finished its works. In fast opera del duomo is still working after seven centuries and they never sow a cent for their plots! Bischero, after all that, means “stupid” in a friendly way. Someone who cannot manage his business.

Inner of florence baptistryThe Baptistry of Saint Giovanni.The origin of the Florence baptistery is still uncertain. Tradition say that it was built during the roman empire like a temple dedicated to Mars. The octagonal base instead, suggest it was erected during the longobad domination during the VII century. In fact the baptistery enter officially in the story the 4 th march of 897 when the Count Paladino Amedeo sit in from of the baptistery door to administer justice. For some reasons the baptistery was more important of the church of Santa Reparata . The 6 th of November 1059, the Florentine Pope, Niccolò II, just elected, consecrates again the abbey which becomes again the Bishop main office. There are reasons to assume that temple was rebuilt or totally changed. For sure, the eight cloves dome was completed. On the west side, there was a altar positioned over a semicircular apse. In 1113 the church receive the spares of Bishop Ranieri. In 1128, S. Giovanni loose the title ofsection of the florence dome cathedral and get permanently the title of baptistery. During that times, the baptism was administrated only two times a year so there were many people coming for the event. That's way there are many doors to get inside S. Giovanni 's bapt.. In 1172 Fiorenza ( Florence ) had about 30,000 citizens and the new walls wrap the city in a double surface compared the older (built by Matilde di Canossa in 1078). In the second half of XI century, the inner wall of the baptistery got the marble application. For the new floor, in marble a well, we have to wait the next century. In the second half of XII cent., started the application at the external walls. Made with 2 kinds of marble, white and green, it follow the classical taste made in squared figured designed with the marble's colours. We can find same colour periodicity on the application of the church of Santa Maria Novella made by Albergi in 1470. The border at the corners of the octagon, are decorated in horizontal alternate stripes representing a roman taste. The triangular decoration of the windows designed for the first time here, become soon a progenitor of inspirations during all the renaissance period.

bell tower of GiottoIn XIII century, start the inner decoration with mosaics at “scarsella” (circa 1225-28) and all the rest of the dome from 1270 till 1300. After been a innovative architectural laboratory, the baptistery becomes a painting laboratory as well. From Coppo di Marcovaldo and Cimabue it will go directly to Giotto. In the XIV cent. Florence start to think about new doors appropriate at the monument. The first commissioned to Andrea Pisano which realize it between 1330 and 1336. The other two, commissioned to Lore nzo Ghiberti which end the second door between 1401 and 1424, and the third named “door of paradise” between1425 and 1452. The sculptures over the doors were realized by Sansovino (1502, east door or paradise door), by Giovan Francesco Rustici (1506-11, north door), and Vincenzo Danti (1570, south door. Ghiberti realized even this door frames between 1452 and 1462. At the sides of the paradise door there are 2 colums given to Florence from Pisa as tanks for the military help got from Florence against Lucca (1117). Both colums are broken and a popular tradition that Pisa sent them covered by draps to hide the damages. That's why people say: “Florentines are blind, Pisanes are traitors”. At last, inside the baptistery there is the statue of anti-pope Giovanni XXIII, made by Donatello and Michelozzo in 1421-27. The origin of the baptistry of Florence is still cloudy. Tradition wants that it has been built up in roman age like tempio the God Mars. The formulation to octagonal base makes to think next to the period of the domination longobarda of the WAYS century, is of fact that the baptistry officially enters in the history 4 March 897 when conte the Amedeo Champion is based in front of the door of the baptistry for amminstrare the justice. For some reason it was more important of the church of Reparata saint to its shoulders. 6 not vembre 1059, the pontefice fiorentino second Niccolò, hardly elect, riconsacra the basilica that becomes of new center of the bishop. We believe that in this occasion the tempio it has been transformed or fors' also reconstructed. Of sure the cupola to eight segments it was completed while on the side the west there was an altar over a semicircular apse. In the 1113 church it receives the interment of Ranieri bishop. In the 1128 Saint Giovanni it only abandons in order always the rank of cathedral and reservoir that one of Baptistry. To the age the sacramento came only trained two times the year and the afflusso of the population it advised numerous doors of access. We remember that in the 1172 "Fiorenza" it turns out to have 30,000 inhabitants and the new cerchia of walls, the quarter, encloses one at least double surface regarding third, constructed from Matilde di Canossa in 1078. In the second half of XI the century it is provided to the marmoreo covering of the inside while for the new pavement, anch' it in marble, must wait for the successive century.

In the second half of century XII, it comes inziata the work of marmoreo covering of the baptistry. The two used marbles, the white man of Carrara and the green of Prato follow a taste classic to pictures design to you with the alternation of the colors of marbles, then resumption from the albergi in 1470 in order to design to the facade of the church of Saint Maria novel. The costoni to the angles of the octagon they are instead to strisce horizontal alternated and they are rifared to a Romanesque taste. The semicircular acute eardrums over the windows, are an architectonic prototype that will come resumed for all the rinascimentale period.

In the 1200's the way to the inner decoration covering of mosaics is given the scarsella (approximately the 1225-28) and entire cupola (approximately 1270-1300). After to have been an innovative yard as far as the architecture, the Baptistry becomes therefore the laboratory of the new pittorica school fiorentina that they give Coppo di Marcovaldo and Cimabue (active in Saint Giovanni) carries to Giotto. In the 1300's it is finally begun to think next to new worthy doors of the monument: before it comes commissioned to the scultore Andrea Pisano, than it it executes between 1330 and 1336, the others two to Lorenzo Ghiberti, than complete second between 1401 and 1424 and third, said "of the Paradise", between 1425 and 1452. The sculptures over ognuna of the doors are work of Sansovino (1502, east Door, or of the Paradise), of Peasant Giovan Francisco (1506-11, Door north) and of Vincenzo They give (1570 to you, Door south, that it boasts also crams to you carved in the 1452-62 from Vittorio di Lorenzo Ghiberti).
To sides of the Door of the Paradise two columns of porfido are found donated from the pisani to the fiorentini like thanks for the military aid supplied in 1117 defending Pisa from Lucca while the fleet was engaged to the Baleari against the Muslems. The two columns are broken, perhaps as a result of some alluvium, but a malicious popular tradition wants that they have been sent already broken off and for these blankets from drappi that they hid to them: from here the saying "Fiorentini blind and pisani traitor". To remember, in the inside, the monument to antiPope Giovanni XXIII, executed from Donatello and Michelozzo in 1421-27.

Door north scheme - Door east scheme - Door South - Mosaic outline of batpistery

The bell tower of Giotto. Giotto Bell tower. When Giotto become master builder, he dedicated all his interests in projecting and realize the bell tower. His project prefigured a pyramidal cusp at the top of the tower 30m tall. (50 Florentine arms). In total the tower should be 110- 115 meters tall. The intention of Giotto was to built 2 different stairs. One as service passage and another one to serve the rooms in the intention of Giotto, had to be representative for city guests. How to realize them without weaken all the tower structure. Andrea Pisano lost his work because he was not able to resolve it. In fact he realized the 2 different stairs till the first floor but not over it and to have walls strong enough to sustain the tower weight, he had to close some windows. The basic window you can see from outside it's just a fake. Inside there are just 2 little holes to get some light. The bell tower works ended in 1359 after a stop caused by the black pest in the city. Talenti finished it but he radically crossed out the second stair from the frist floor to the top. t the end of works, the tower bell is not completed yet. The 30 meter cusp was never realized. A the moment the tower is still and just a parallelepiped without the original projected top.





Cathedral of
S. Maria of the Flower

Mon., Tue., Wed. and Fri.ì:10:00 - 17:00

Gio: 10:00 - 16:30
Sat: 10:00 - 16:45
Sun. and religious fest.: 13:30 - 16:45
1° Sat of the month: 10:00 - 15:30
1° Jan., Easter and Christamas:15:30-16:45
We: 10:00 - 16:30
Saint Thu: 12:30 - 16:30
Saint Fri: 10:30 - 16:30
Saint Sat: 10:30 - 16:45


Free. Entrance from the left door of the facade. Access for handicapped from the rectory door (south side). Guided visits. Audioguide available in 5 languages


Monday - Friday: 8:30 - 19:00
1° Saturday of the month: 8:30 - 16:00
Other Sabati: 8:30 - 17:40

1 May: 8:30 - 17:00

1° Epiphany January
Saint G-V-S

L-M of the Week. of Advent

Been born Them - 26 Decembers

 Access concurred until to 40 minuteren before the closing. Entrance from the door of the Almond  of the Dome (side north). Climb on foot of 463 scalini, not elevator

S. Reparata
(archaeological site)

Mon., Tue., Wed. and Ven.: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday: 10:00 - 16:30
1° Saturday of the month: 10:00 - 15:30
Other Sabati: 10:00 - 16:45

1 May: 8:30 - 17:00

Like the dome

Access concurred until to 30 minuteren before the closing. Entrance from the inside of the Dome, navata centers them.

Bell tower of Giotto

8:30 - 19:30

1° January
8 September

Access concurred until to 40 minuteren before the closing. Climb on foot of 414 scalini, not elevator.

Baptistry of
S. Giovanni

12:00 - 19:00
Sunday: 8:30 - 14:00
Pasquetta: 8:30 - 19:00
25 April: 8:30 - 19:00
1° May: 8:30 - 19:00

1° January
8 September
24 Decembers

Access concurred until to 30 minuteren before the closing. Entrance from the door north.
Audioguide available in 5 languages

Museum of the Work of
S. Maria of the Flower

9:00 - 19:30
Sunday: 9:00 - 13:45

1° January
8 September

Access concurred until to 40 minuteren before the closing. Access to the disabili. Bookshop. Guided visits
Audioguide available in 5 languages

Church of
S. Benedict

Free income upon request




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