Dominating the serene Tuscan skyline is the Duomo cathedral in Florence Italy. Requiring six centuries to complete, the massive structure is one of the most enduring symbols in all of Italy. Located in the appropriately named Piazza del Duomo and dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary Of The Flower), the Duomo is the third largest cathedral in the world and de facto center of Florence, with its gigantic cupola visible from nearly every street in the city. Considered to be the architect Filippo Bruneschelli's masterpiece, the cathedral"s giant cupola was constructed to express the bridging of Greek and Gothic architecture.
At the time of its inception, the giant dome was the largest in the world, and would continue to be until Michelangelo outdid the Duomo in Florence with his design of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The gilded dome is still considered one of the defining architectural works of the entire Renaissance, and atop it sits an octagonal lantern, allowing the light of the heavens to flood downward into the Duomo in Florence.
Lagged by political infighting, ever-shifting artistic movements and the sheer immensity of the project, construction of the facade of the Duomo in Florence was not finished until 1887, combining bands of ornate green, red and white marble into repeating patterns across its entirety.
Inside, the Duomo cathedral is all marble floors and yawning aisles, shaped to appear like a gigantic cross laid onto the ground. The arches raise to over 75 feet in the air, and were constructed so that the basilica appeared bare and austere to assimilate the teachings of Girolamo Savonarola, a 15th century Florentine leader who preached against extravagance. Though most of the decor inside the Duomo cathedral in Florence Italy now rests in the museum across the square, there are still a few historically significant artistic endeavors located inside: The Donatello-designed stained glass window depicting the coronation of the Virgin and the tomb of Antonio D'Orso can be found here, along with numerous other stained glass works from premier Italian artists of their time.
The inner wall of the famous dome, with the surface area reaching about 3600 square meters, is exclusively devoted to a representation of the Last Judgment and took eleven years to complete. For one of the most spectacular views in all of Europe, visitors can climb the bell tower of the Duomo cathedral in Florence Italy and witness a glowing orange sunset.