1293 the flourishing republic of Florence decided to set a status symbol
and to build the most the most beautiful and biggest cathedral of all time.
The building was begun in 1296 and took 140 years. At its completion
in 1436 the cathedral, with a length of 153 metres and a width of 38 metres
was the biggest church in Europe and considered to be one of the most expensive
buildings in the world. Today it is, after St.Peter’s Church in Rome,
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and the cathedral in Milan, the fourth biggest
church of Christendom.
The construction of the fully self-supporting,
octagonal ribbed cupola with a height of 91 metres (114.5 with lantern)
and a span of 45 metres by the ingenious architect Filippo Brunelleschi
was one of the most challenging and imposing tasks of the Renaissance.
The construction was begun in 1420 and took 14 years to complete.
Two years later the lantern was placed in position and the church was consecrated.
The elaborately decorated marble façade dates from the 19th
century. The magnificent cathedral became a landmark of Florence
and from the lantern offers a fascinating view over the city.