The exterior of the Cathedral
Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore
S. Maria del Fiore as it appears in the XNUMXth century "Rustic Code" (Arciepiscopal Seminary of Cestello - Florence)
Hypothetical view of the ancient Florentine Cathedral of Santa Reparata
The first episcopal church of Florence was the ancient basilica of St. Lawrence, consecrated by St. Ambrose of Milan in 394.
The main church and cathedral seat of the city of Florence was then the basilica of St. Reparata martyr, which was built in the fifth or sixth century and, on several occasions, enlarged and restored in the following centuries.
When the total and more extensive renovation was decreed, necessary due to intense demographic growth, Cardinal Valeriano, legate of Boniface VIII, solemnly laid the first stone of the new basilica on the feast of the Nativity of the Madonna in 1296. Only in 1436 was the church was consecrated by PP Eugene IV, with the title of Santa Maria del Fiore. The "Flower", according to a document from the early 400s, would be Christ, sprouting on the stem (Mary), which arises from the root of David's family.
The Cathedral that can be visited today is the result of 170 years of work.
The first stone of the facade was laid on 8 September 1296, based on a project by Arnolfo di Cambio who, simultaneously, directed the construction of Santa Croce and the Palazzo della Signoria.
However, Arnolfo's project underwent numerous modifications, above all by Francesco Talenti, master builder from the mid-300s.
The radial chapels to the east were completed in the early 400th century and the gigantic dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, was built in just 16 years, from 1418 to 1434, "such a large structure, steep above the skies, large enough to cover all Tuscan peoples with its shadow”, as Leon Battista Alberti wrote at the time.
View of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore
Statue of Filippo Brunelleschi
The lantern, designed by Brunelleschi, was built after the artist's death (1446) while the gilded copper ball with the cross, containing sacred relics, by Andrea del Verrocchio, was placed in 1466.
Madonna with child by Tito Sarrocchi
The last component of Santa Maria del Fiore to be built was the facade, designed by Emilio De Fabris between 1871 and 1887, in a neo-Gothic style that recalls the "true" Gothic of the bell tower and the portals on the sides of the Cathedral.
This facade, like Arnolfo's, honors the Mother of Christ. In fact, in the pediment above the central door, a statue of Tito Sarrocchi, depicting Mary enthroned with a scepter of flowers, which dominates the remaining architectural space, characterized by characters from the Florentine environment.
In the mosaics of the lunettes are portrayed:
to the left The charity among the founders of Florentine philanthropic institutions, in the centre Christ enthroned with Maria and saint John the Baptist, right Florentine artisans, merchants and humanists paying homage to the Virgin.
Mosaics of the facade of Santa Maria del Fiore