Why did Florence want a new cathedral?
Who was Dante?
The Florence baptistery
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They had already replaced their old baptistery, and now they wanted to do the cathedral. (Duomo means “cathedral” in Italian.)
Where did they get the money?
The government of Florence raised money to pay for their new cathedral with a tax on people’s wills. The new church was very big – it is the fourth biggest church in the world – and so it was very hard to build.
The first plan for the Duomo
But di Cambio died in 1302, and a new group of men took over the government of Florence. Work stopped for a long time.
The second plan
Then Pisano took over as the architect, but when a terrible plague killed thousands of people in Florence in 1348, work on the duomo in Florence stopped again. (This was the Black Death that killed many of Boccaccio‘s friends.)
The Duomo, with music recorded at the Duomo and the sound of the Duomo’s bells
Twenty-seven years later, in 1375, workmen actually tore down the old cathedral and began building the new one, somewhat modernized from the original plan which was now almost a hundred years old.
The third plan for the Duomo
In 1418, with most of the cathedral built, Brunelleschi (brew-nuh-LESS-key) designed a great dome to go over the high altar at the crossing (where the transept crossed the nave), and worked out how to build it. The cathedral – the duomo in Florence = was basically finished in 1436, even though the red, white, and green marble on the outside wasn’t finished until four hundred years later.
On the inside, there are fresco paintings by Paolo Uccello.