Monday, June 21, 2010

La Piazza del Duomo di Firenze

Florence’s Piazza del Duomo is one of the most visited places in the world. It consists of the cathedral, baptistery and bell tower, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the 4th largest church in Europe. It is 153 meters (502 feet) long and 116 meters (381 feet) tall. Construction on the Gothic cathedral began in 1296 and it was completed in 1436. The exterior façade is decorated with green, pink and white marble panels.

The dome was begun in 1420 and at the time was the largest in the world. Today, it is still the largest brick dome ever built. It takes a while to make it to the top but the view is worth it.

Inside the cathedral is a one-handed liturgical clock showing the 24 hours of Italian time where the day ends at sunset – the 24th hour. The hora italica timetable was the standard until the 18th century. This clock is one of the few from that time that is still works.

There are 44 stained glass windows. Donatello designed the Coronation of the Virgin that’s in the drum of the dome.

The inside of the dome is painted with The Last Judgment. The painting is 3.600 m² (38, 750 ft²) and took 11 years to complete.

Adjacent to the cathedral is the Gothic bell tower designed by Giotto. It is almost 85 meters (~278 feet) tall, is made up of five levels and has seven bells. It is decorated in the same white, green and pink shades of marble. I had already climbed to the top of the dome for the city view, so I decided that I didn’t need to spend the €6 to climb the bell tower too.

In front of the cathedral is the Battistero di San Giovanni. The Baptistery of St. John has the status of a minor basilica. Built in Romanesque style, from 1059 – 1128, it is one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

The mosaic inside was started in the 13th century.

The east doors were done by Ghiberti and were dubbed by Michelangelo as “the Gates of Paradise”. The ten panels illustrate scenes from the Old Testament.

More pictures of Florence are already posted on Flickr.

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