The breathtaking Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flowers) was one of my favorite places to visit. The Basilica, but better known as the Duomo, is the main church of Florence, Italy. It was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style by Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. Can you imagine it took two centuries for the cathedral to be deemed finished?
The Duomo dominates the skyline of Florence with its magnificent Renaissance dome.
The frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) were designed by Giorgio Vasari, but painted mostly by his student Frederico Zuccari.
The interior of the cathedral.
After the frescoes, the mosaic pavements are certainly one of the main attractions of the interior.
The church was consecrated as soon as the dome was in place although the facade was only half finished by then. The facade was designed in the 19th century by architect Emilio de Fabris to replace the uncompleted original, torn down in the 16th century.
The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble.
The main gate.