What is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore?

by Tours of Tuscany
What is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore?

What is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore?

Tuscany is home to a variety of great landmarks, and if you plan to spend a vacation here, it might not be a bad idea to pay a visit to the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This building is the third largest cathedral in the world, after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London, and the largest in Europe at the time of its completion (which was during the 15th century). This structure is a true masterpiece and a must visit for those who want to see one of the greatest pieces of architecture Italy has to offer.

The Santa Maria del Fiore’s history

The cathedral was first designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, although you’re sure to notice some differences between his original plans and the final result of the structure. This is due to the fact that while he had begun construction work in the end of the 12th century, he died in 1310 and the work was continued by the Arte della Lana around 20 years after.

Construction was carried out on and off throughout the coming years, even during difficult times like the Black Death in 1348, with a number of different individuals taking on the role of leading the project until it was finished in the 15th century.

The most important operation of the project began in 1871 and ended in 1884, when a new façade was constructed. Designed by Emilio De Fabris and built by his assistants, this new addition was made to match the Florentine style of the bell tower and the cathedral’s side doors.

Numerous architects and artists worked on the construction and design of the cathedral as time went by, mainly because of the many difficulties that occurred while it was being built. This is the reason why there are a number of styles throughout the structure, and even those inexperienced in architecture can often see how the church changed over time (as different people were put in charge of constructing it). This only makes the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore even more spectacular.

What you need to know before visiting

If you plan to stay in Tuscany for a vacation any time soon and want to see this grand site for yourself, be sure to remember that:

  • As this is a holy landmark, you need to dress appropriately if you want to enter
  • You won’t be able to see the south side, as access to this part has been restricted
  • You can enter through the right-hand door in the west front, and there’s no admission fee
  • Be sure to check opening and closing times before you visit

 

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