The Cathedral (Duomo) of Santa Maria del Fiore is the unmistakable symbol of Florence. Construction began in 1296 and continued for six centuries. The masterful brick cupola was designed by Brunelleschi, and the free-standing campanile, which rises 267 feet, is based on plans drawn up by Giotto. Its bas-reliefs by Andrea Pisano and Luca della Robbia trace human history from the dawn of Creation.|
The Duomo of Florence is one of the most recognizable structures in the world because of its unique coloring, architecture and size. The Duomo's nave is the third-longest in all of Christendom. The Duomo is built on the plan of a Latin cross and its naves are 153 meters long by 38 meters wide. The transept is 90 meters long while the cupola is 45 meters in diameter, the same size as the Baptistry; this was an unusual width in Gothic architecture and was to create a great many technical problems when the time came to close the whole area with a vault.