Flo­rence: have I got views for you...

Even af­ter six cen­turies, the Duomo to beat all duo­mos is still a won­der from ev­ery an­gle, says Harry Mount

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

This year, Italy’s great­est Re­nais­sance city is cel­e­brat­ing the 600th an­niver­sary of its most fa­mous ar­chi­tec­tural com­pe­ti­tion – for the de­sign of the dome of Flo­rence’s cathe­dral. Today, the cathe­dral is the defin­ing eye-catcher of the city. With its great, eight-ribbed dome and the neigh­bour­ing bell tower of the Palazzo Vec­chio, Flo­rence’s town hall, it soars above the city’s red-tiled roofs, dom­i­nat­ing views from all di­rec­tions. In 1418, how­ever, there was a yawn­ing void in the mid­dle of the cathe­dral – and no one had the faintest idea how to bridge a gap that would re­quire the big­gest brick dome in his­tory to date.

En­ter Filippo Brunelleschi, a 41-year-old Floren­tine lo­cal, still bruised by los­ing an ear­lier com­pe­ti­tion in 1401 to de­sign the east doors of the cathe­dral bap­tis­tery. That com­pe­ti­tion was won by his ri­val Lorenzo Ghib­erti. Ghib­erti’s bronze pan­els for the doors, called “the Gates of Par­adise” by Michelangelo, de­picted Bi­b­li­cal scenes that were so thrillingly

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