Pictures & photos of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore ( Saint Mary of the Flower Basilica) commonly known as the Duomo of Florence, Italy. The building of the iconic Duomo was begun in 1296 in the Italian Gothic style. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio the building was completed in 1436. The masterpiece and the wonder of the medieval world at the time was the Florence Duomo’s dome, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. It was the largest dome to be built since the dome of the great Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul) nearly 1000 years earlier and was the largest dome to be built in Italy since the Pantheon in Rome in 126 AD. The skill and techniques to build great domes had been lost in the West with the collapse of the western Roman Empire so Brunelleschi had to devised a new system to build the dome.
There was not enough wood in Tuscany to build scaffolding to support the Dome while it was being built so Brunelleschi devised a technique that allowed the dome to be built without scaffolding. By making the dome octagonal and by light brick supported by internal stone and metal hoops the construction of the Dome that had defeated engineers for over 100 years. Over 4 million bricks weighing 37000 tons were used in the construction which was completed in 1461 and it remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. <.p>
The facade of the Duomo, designed by Giotto, was removed by the Medici’s during a Renaissance purge of what was seen to be an outmoded design. The facade remained bare brick until 1864 when the exterior of the basilica was faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival design by Emilio De Fabris. The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world.