Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria de del Fiore 1.jpg
Architect: Arnolfo di Cambio, Filippo Brunelleschi
Year(s) of construction: 1296-1446
Height: 114 m
Location: Florencia, Italy
Coordinates: 43° 46' 23" N, 11° 15' 25" E
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This is the cathedral of Florence. Santa Maria de las Flores (Santa Maria dei Fiori) is a Gothic cathedral, begun in 1296 by architect Arnolfo di Cambio and continuously since 1331 by Giotto, who made her beautiful campanile free, and later by other architects.

The cathedral has a Latin cross plan with three naves. As is typical of Italian Gothic, tending to the horizontal and polychromy, andalusia interlayer spun stone and marble.

It took 25 years to complete the dome when the cathedral took 130 years and under construction.

Upon completion of the works was the largest cathedral in Europe, with a capacity for 30,000 people. At present it is only surpassed in size, St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the Seville Cathedral and the Cathedral of Milan.


The new church was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296 to become the largest Catholic church in the world.

He designed three wide in the dying craft octagonal dome, with the nave covering the area of Santa Reparata.

However due to the prosperity which was plunged the city of Florence is famous for its shops with wool and silk was decided to expand the project Arnolfo.

For its expansion was not introduced any change in either the design or structure, simply changed the scale of the original draft. Nobody repaired at that time due to the euphoria and wealth that invaded the city in the technical difficulties that would cover the central orthogonal after the change of scale was 42 meters.

After the death of Arnolfo di Cambio works slowed down and came to a halt until in 1334, was appointed as master Giotto. Assisted by Andrea Pisano continued the design of Arnolfo di Cambio. His greatest triumph was the construction of the tower, but died in 1337, leaving the work unfinished. Andrea Pisano continued to work until they had to be abandoned because of the Black Plague in 1348.

Overcome the epidemic of the Black population in Europe was reduced by half so that people who before had such a fatal event saw some power increased, as their wealth. Simply had less to go around.

Some traders who came to accumulate more wealth began to lend their money giving rise to what we might call the bank first.

These were wealthy families who sought the funds for convening the contest to fill the cathedral in his city.

The competition for dome

In 1418 he was called the contest to fill the cathedral of the city. Several proposals were some of them completely ridiculous but the only solution was designed by some of the architects of the period to cover a similar light.

It was proposed to place a central pillar to support the leadership or even filling the cathedral of land to be molded and then used to support the construction of the dome. According to the author of this proposal once the work the city's poor would be responsible for emptying the cathedral and sand during the filling is mixed with soil currencies.

It is believed that Brunelleschi had already been working on this project forward to the convening of the competition sooner or later and was the only one who managed to submit a firm proposal with a plan of action studied.

He was awarded the prize with the condition imposed by the unions to share the direction of the work with Ghiberti. Bruenlleschi very shrewdly accepted the condition. A few years later during the execution of the works Brunelleschi pretended to fall ill for several weeks, leaving the command of Ghiberti's work. The more stretched the absence of Brunelleschi became more evident Ghiberti's inability to make a success of the project and therefore was a point in disposing of the 1423 address book to Brunelleschi exclusively.

The competition for flashlight

In 1440 nearly finished with the dome was decided to launch a new tender to decide how the work should be crowned. Brunelleschi feels offended by this fact and presents a model of his proposal that eventually resulted also winning.



The Facade

The original facade, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio and usually attributed to Giotto, was, in fact, begun twenty years after the death of Giotto. The first front is the collective effort of several artists, including Andrea Orcagna Taddeo Gaddi, and was completed only in its bottom, then was abandoned. In 1587-1588 the architect of the Medici court Buontalenti Bernardo, demolished by order of the Grand Duke Francesco I de 'Medici, as it seemed to be fashionable at the time of the Renaissance.

The competition for a new front end with a huge corruption scandal. Several new designs were proposed in subsequent years, but the models were not accepted. The facade was left therefore discovered until the nineteenth century.

In 1864 opened a competition to design a new facade proving winner Emilio De Fabris (1808-1883) in 1871. Work began in 1876 and was completed in 1887. This neo-Gothic facade of white marble, green and pink form a unity in harmony with the cathedral, Giotto's bell tower and the baptistery, but is overly decorated.

The Dome

Texas terracotta

Despite the fact that since its inception the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was called to be one of the largest buildings in history, and despite that it was important for the construction work was to integrate with the rest of the city.

Could well choose to clearly distinguish it from other buildings, which otherwise would not have proved difficult because of its dimensions. But we chose to terracotta tiles covering it like the other buildings in the city, from public buildings to house more humble. Thus the cathedral becomes a piece of the city, though important, but more in the end.

Perhaps this can be related to the situation of the society of the day where some merchants of humble origin had a great wealth and power (the same mercadres who had finaciado the work of the cathedral). Became important people in society just as it was for the cathedral city wing of the building to be larger, but not stopped being a neighbor.

The Lantern

The torch, with its 16 meters tall and weighing approximately 10% of the total of the dome is a key piece in the complex. Until then the torches were small or nonexistent. Is inspired by the circular temple of Imperial Rome and open to the winds. The auction is designed as essential to put a dome and is a kind of vanishing point of view of the cathedral.

It podira say that the flashlight is a summary of what's happening underneath. It's like a complete model of the cathedral, with its buttresses, designed in Gothic style, with an octagonal and dedicated to St. Mary of the flowers like the cathedral.

Finally the construction of the lantern dome designed by Brunelleschi's going to have the same size plant that section, the same height as width, the same way for men to God.


Brunelleschi's triumph over its competitors is largely due to its thorough implementation plan developed in which consideration was given to the smallest detail.

Also introduced a system of construction without cimbras the dome could not be lifted with the technical means available (remember that building a dome had to be sustained until the key vault through large wooden structures that are not known to build) . Obviously, when the drum was built Trecento Florence carpenters were able to assemble cimbras of this size but the timing of the completion of major construction and the trend of decorative refinement, the craft was lost for work on this scale.

Brunelleschi could try to retrieve a forgotten art, but chose to invent a new technique, not to build self-sustaining cimbras but the dome during its construction: the dome was closed as it was rising.

Scaffolding was anchored at the top section and built to be rising. At first, the scaffolding is placed on the inside while from one third of the total height began to put some on the outside. The holes needed to anchor the scaffolding used later to allow for ventilation and light to enter.


It is a pointed dome and topped with a large flashlight, a structure made of brick, on an octagonal base and composed of two parallel shells. Both inside and outside are listed along an arc with a radius of 6 / 7 of the diameter of the octagon inscribed on its base. As the inner layer, having a smaller radius, it closes earlier, the width of the second layer increases with height. The difference in radii of curvature contributes to the forces are distributed along a curve called petal flower, with a point of maximum tension, which placed a ring of reinforced with wooden beams to support the tensions.

Between the two layers is the layer of air with the nerves and rings that form the structure of the dome. This layer can lighten almost empty third the total weight of the dome, and the existence of two galleries that allow access to the flashlight. The combination of the three layers and how can put a weight reduction of almost 45% compared to a hemispherical dome. From a mechanical and dynamic layers act as one.

The dome is made up of 24 nerve blocks arranged in the form of spina fish. The eight vertex covering the dome are the nerves, as they reflect the weight of the structure. Two more face nerves help distribute the weight of the dome. This total of 24 nerves start from a ring of stones and bricks at the base of the dome, which collects and transmits its efforts to drum. Parallel to the ring at the base, there are eleven rings formed by brick arches between nerve and nerve tangential forces distributed uniformly convey the weight of structures to the nerves.

The eight stone and marble nerves who are abroad are decorative and do not meet any structural function, since the nerves that hold the dome and are not from outside or inside the cathedral. They serve to define the eight triangles that form the dome and give it, breaking the uncertainty of a monochrome dome, and a volume that consistency. otherwise, have become blurred.


Brick, stone and marble are the materials used primarily though the dome is also bracing for wood and metal anchors.