Brunelleschi’s Dome: Revolutionary Architecture

One of the most famous sites in Florence is the dome to the city’s main cathedral, or duomo. For months leading up to my trip, I thought that “duomo” was either Latin or Italian for “dome.” I was wrong. The word “duomo” comes from the Latin word for house, so calling a cathedral “duomo” is calling it the house of God. Ya tú sabes.

Back to the dome itself. It took 18 years to build and, at the time of its construction, was the largest dome ever built. In fact, nothing near its size had been attempted in over 1000 years — like ideas of any kind, new thinking in architecture came to a stop during the Dark Ages in Europe.

The architect was a man named Filippo Brunelleschi. His ideas on how to construct the dome were so different from anything that had been attempted before him that friends and enemies called him crazy. Still, he preserved, and I hope that you all do the same when faced with challenges that seem impossible, even if others are laughing at you.

Much of the materials for building to the dome came from the nearby Arno River, as workers used sand and gravel from the bottom of the river. By the end of its construction, over 70 million pounds of material were lifted from the ground to make the dome, and it was so different than anything else ever built, that new machines were invented to successfully complete the construction, and there are 463 steps to the top of the dome.

Finally, I met a couple new friends up at the top — Elizabeth and her younger brother. Meeting nice people is the best part of traveling. Hope you guys are doing well in TN!

I see a lot of the GRAPES (geography, religion, art/architecture/achievements, political systems, economic systems, and social classes) in this post. Let me know which ones you see and explain in the comments below.

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The view from the top of the dome, with its shadow hanging over Florence.

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The Arno River, from where much of the materials for the construction of the dome were taken.

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