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by Orient-Express

The Cathedral Dome, All to Ourselves


In the Middle Ages, building a cathedral was an enormous undertaking. He who laid the first stone would know that only his children’s grandchildren would see the finished building.

At the end of the 14th century, the Florentines decided to finish their cathedral with a grand dome that would be the envy of all. It was a question of prestige. Two hundred years earlier, the hated rival city of Pisa had designed its Piazza dei Miracoli: the new cathedral of Florence could not be anything less—it had to become one of the wonders of the world.

The story of the dome is a strange one, made up of arguments, rivalries, and bizarre events. It is, most of all, though, the story of its builder: a brilliant and very brave man. Two men, both architects and sculptors, won the competition to build the dome jointly: Ghiberti and Brunelleschi. In reality, the dome project was Brunelleschi’s, for his plans were used, but the patrons did not wholly trust him because, as Vasari tells us, they considered him rather crazy.

An iconic landmark in Florence, the dome is of endless fascination to visitors. We invite guests to take an exclusive stroll into the past, enjoying this splendid architectural gem during the week, with a glass of champagne and without the tourists.

The visit includes a chance to walk, in peace, on the terrace of the cathedral and the dome’s outside walkway, which offers magnificent panoramic views of Florence and the Tuscan hills beyond.

The tour also includes a visit to the matroneum (gallery) in the baptistry, for a closer look at the mosaic-covered vault and its architectural structure—he inspiration for Brunelleschi’sdjacent dome.

Before completing this exceptional tour we visit a rare, surviving example of a medieval workshop, where the Opera del Duomo stone cutters still restore original works by important past artists, some of whom worked for the cathedral, and make copies to replace them on site.

For more information, please contact:
Danytza Contreras
Public Relations Manager
Hotel Villa San Michele
+39 055 5678200


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