Florence (Firenze) is marking 600 years since construction work began on Brunelleschi’s Cupola for the Cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore, a landmark that has dominated the skyline of the Tuscan capital for six centuries.

In 1418 the ingenious design for the dome was awarded to a 41-year-old famous Florentine architect, engineer and goldsmith Filippo Brunelleschi, who is considered a founding father of Renaissance architecture.
Building work began on 7 August 1420 and the dome was finally completed 16 years later. The cupola remains the world’s largest brick dome ever built, with an outer diameter of 54.8 meters and an inner one of 45.5 meters.
The genius behind Brunelleschi’s design is that the dome is, in fact, two concentric domes: an outer dome conceals the inner one.
The pointed dome, stronger than the semi-circular one; was built using light brick; and by wrapping the walls with tension rings of stone, iron, and wood, similar to hoops on a barrel, preventing it from cracking or collapsing.
The finished cathedral, whose construction began in 1296, was consecrated finally by Pope Eugenius IV on 25 March 1436, in what was a triumph for Florence.

To celebrate the dome’s 600th anniversary, the cathedral is holding a series of free talks dedicated to the dome and its construction, held in the Brunelleschi Room of the Antica Canonica di S. Giovanni, from 14 January to 19 May.

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