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Florence Italy: The Cathedral or Duomo of Florence is heralded as one of the wonders of the magnificent architectural accomplishments of Italy. Adorning the skyline of Florence, Duomo has been one of the greatest tourist attractions in Florence. As we see the Cathedral today, it took more than six centuries with several years of hard work by bands of accomplished architects and sculptors to give a final shape to this splendid piece of architecture.
The portals of the Cathedral beckoning tens of thousands of travelers everyday, no trip to Italy can find fulfillment without visiting Duomo.
Beginnings The basic architectural project of Duomo of Florence was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio towards the end of the 13th century. The central feature of this project is the massive cupola, which has eventually become the official symbol for Tuscany. The cupola was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the genius of the renaissance architecture.
The wonder The original plan consisted of the octagonal dome of 42 metres span to be built at the east end of the nave. However, this was not accomplished till the 15th century. Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and sculptor, entered the scene at this point to make statues for the cathedral.
Gradually, his interest extended to the building and he suggested a daring proposal in 1415 to build the dome without supporting form work. The principle behind this was, built in horizontal layers, the stability is enhanced multifold and the construction would not require timber form work support. The construction was carried out under Brunelleschi's supervision between 1420 and 1436, consisting of two domes, the inner one spanning the diameter and an outer parallel to protect from weather and provide a majestic external elevation.
Additions and embellishments Between the period of 1867-87, Emilio de Fabris executed the modern facade of the cathedral, which replaced the one that was destroyed at the end of the 16th century. The Central Museum in the cathedral displays the statues from the former façade and campanile besides the manuscripts in the cathedral’s possession. The endeavour launched in the 13th century came to completion only in the 19th century with the construction of a facade.
Through out the progress over the six centuries, certain startling additions embellished the structure ranging from marble flooring of the entire construction, construction of two sacristies, sculptures and frescos and the portrayal of the Last Judgment in the cupola. All these wonderful and amazing features put together make the accomplishment a feast for the eyes of the visitors which open wide with awe.
Tourist’s Tips Most of the attractions of the town are indoor and suitable to visit during any time of the year. However, tourists throng in great numbers in summer. For better guidance and all necessary information, visit the Tourist Information Office opposite to the station in the first instance. Since many museums are open only in the mornings and several close down for two days in a week, it is ideal to make an advance planning. Entry to every historical place is charged heavily.
Be ready for it and always carry your identity proof to avail some concessions available. Advance ticket booking will save a lot of time in queues as well would help you plan better. Direct online booking facility is available. However, Tourist agencies would be able to help with a nominal additional charge over the actual costs. To explore the geography of the town and to feel the city, one of the best ways is to travel around the city in a city tourist bus, sitting in the open top deck.