And it was only in the 20th century, with the development of lightweight steel and synthetic materials, that bigger domes could be built.
No wonder then that this great colossus still dominates views of the city, whether you’re on the southern slopes of
Florence, in the Boboli and Bardini Gardens; or high up in the hillside town of Fiesole to the north. Down in the winding, medieval streets of the city, too, you suddenly catch your breath as you turn a corner and there, looming above you, is the finest dome in Christendom.
The Duomo still dominates the skyline of Florence, which has remained blissfully free of modern development. The result is clear, unobstructed views of the city from all angles, from the bridges, the hills and the riverside palaces. Here is our guide to the best Florence views. Harry Mount stayed in the Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci, Florence (doubles from £88, telegraph.co. uk/tt-tornabuoni) and the Villa San Michele, Fiesole (doubles from £396, telegraph.co.uk/ttvillasanmichele).
British Airways (ba. com) flies to Florence from London from £104 return.