Italy

Italy Pic of the Day | Florence Cathedral

A tour of the Florence Cathedral reveals the story of one of the world's biggest and most mysterious domes.

Italians have a saying. Il sole bacia i belli. The sun kisses the beautiful. It was a very cold February day in Florence when Today’s Italy Pic of the Day was taken. After wandering through Eataly just around the corner on Via de’ Martelli, Paolo and I made our way through the crowds towards the Cathedral.

I can clearly remember closing my eyes and titling my face up to the sun, welcoming the warmth. That was when Paolo paid me the compliment of “Il sole bacia i belli.” I opened my eyes, smiled, pointed to the Cathedral bathed in sunlight and said “sure does!” Us midwestern women never learn how to take a compliment, but we never forget a good one.

Italy Pic of the Day Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore florence
Italy Pic of the Day Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore florence

Italy Pic of the Day | Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

As promised here’s a little fun tidbit about today’s Italy Pic of the Day of the Florence Cathedral aka Santa Maria del Fiore aka The Duomo (to the Fiorentini). Florence is the Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance but the Florence Cathedral dome predates this illustrious period.

Way, way back in 1418 Filippo Brunelleschi came up with his own unique and many say brilliant methods to construct the dome. A grand feat considering he had no formal architectural training and this was to be the largest dome ever built!

Italy Pic of the Day Florence Duomo
Italy Pic of the Day Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore Florence, Italy

Curious to know more about what makes this one of a kind dome so mysterious and special? If you’ve got a few minutes, this Nat Geo video does a good job of explaining how an Amateur Built the World’s Biggest Dome.

Video of the construction of the dome of the Florence Cathedral

Remarkably this eight sided, off centered dome stands 375.7 feet tall yet has no central support system! It also just so happens to be sitting atop one of Italy’s most ravishing Gothic style cathedrals.

Italy Pic of the Day Florence Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Italy Pic of the Day Florence Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, is the third largest church in the world (after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London) and was the largest church in Europe when it was completed in the 15th century. It is 153 meters long, 90 meters wide at the crossing, and 90 metres high from the floor to the bottom of the lantern. The third and last cathedral of Florence, it was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the Virgin of the Flower, in 1412, a clear allusion to the lily, the symbol of the city of Florence.

OPERA DI SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE

In Italy, everywhere you look the sun kisses beautiful cathedral, churches, and domes. Yet the Florence Cathedral and the legend of Brunelleschi’s genius is a mark of pride for Italy. I look forward to sharing more of the magic of Florence with you soon in my next Italy Pic of the Day.

Speaking of which. My friend, you might have noticed I’ve slowed down a bit with publishing my Italy Pic of the day this month. I’m currently enrolled in an intensive Italian language class. I’m in four hour lessons Monday through Friday. Add a few extra hours each day for homework and basically, I’m a full time student again! It’s a luxury I know, to move to Italy and have the time to focus on learning to speak Italian but honestly, at the end of the day right now, my brian is fried. I hope you’ll stick around as these Italy Pic of the Day posts are a bit more spread out. Hopefully by the time I’m relatively proficient in Italian, the world will be properly vaccinated against COVID and we’ll be on the road in Italy again.

Where are you hoping to go as soon as it’s safe to travel again, sans mask?

Follow for More Italy Pic of the Day Images & Stories of Moving to Italy!

You can also find us on Instagram for Renovating Bardonecchia updates and stories from the Italian Alps.

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