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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Duomo Of Florence

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Duomo Of Florence

Jul 25, 2022

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is nowadays more commonly and simply known as the Duomo of Florence. Its history starts from the moment the first foundation stone was laid, back on October 8th, 1296.

A lot can happen over 800 years but, despite all odds, Italians can still be proud of this magnificent architectural monument, a past centuries' memory.

1. 142 years to build The Duomo of Florence 

The Gothic style church, with its huge dome over the center was planned to be built in 1293. However no technology existed back then that could create such a wide-base of an architecture's structure. The Cathedral of Florence was a challenging project, and the city's governors wanted it to be finished as quickly as possible. Its construction began anyway but left partway through because of the lack of money to complete all three sections at once. It was eventually completed thanks to an architect named Filippo Brunelleschi, who came up with this great idea for fixing problems as two domes were too much work-- he figured out how to use special bricks made from herringbone patterned stone chain maille, so weight could be evenly distributed without being overly burdensome on any of the sections or individual worker's shoulders.

2. Collaboration for the Dome with the biggest rival as co-superintendent

The administrators of the project didn't trust Brunelleschi, so they nominated his arch enemy Ghiberti as co-superintendent, who had beaten him for the commission of Florence's Baptistery's bronze door. However, Ghiberti realized that his rival was indeed quite talented and collaborated with him on many other projects after completing the Dome successfully!

3. The egg trick of Brunelleschi

According to the legend, Brunelleschi obtained the commission to design the prestigious church for Florence, without the need of any design, but only showing how to make an egg stand on its own. He simply put half-shells of broken eggs placed atop of each other. When no one could do this task, everyone knew they had witnessed something extraordinary.

Brunelleschi received a lot of criticism from other artists, claiming that they could have done it too, he answered by saying: "You may if you know what I know!"

4. The “hidden” message in the facade

The Cathedral's left facade is home to an ox-head with horns, which legend says was placed there as a reminder of betrayal by a worker who had an affair with a tailor's wife in Via Ricasoli. Another theory suggests that builders were paying homage to this animal simply because it carried heavy materials during the construction process. 

5. A crime scene

The Pazzi family is Florence governors' old rival and holder to an ancient grudge against them for power lost long ago. They planned a conspiracy that would seize control over all during Easter Sunday 1478 drew near- but it backfired on its creators when 19 wounds were inflicted onto Giuliano de’ Medici alone wiho had no escape; His brother Lorenzo managed however to run into sacristy where he hid himself until people rose up instead supportive toward his bloodline and giving justice. The bodies of the conspirators were hung from a window in Palazzo della Signoria as an example not to try to overthrow family Medici.

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