Florence had the advantage of being the capital of Italy after its unification, as well as enjoying the influence of its once-governors, the Medici family, which helped the city become a successful economic and cultural powerhouse of central Europe. Florentine monuments have significant cultural value in the eyes of the whole country, some of the most famous of them being: The Uffizi Gallery, The Duomo Cathedral, The Brunelleschi Dome, The Giotto Bell Tower, The Vecchio Palace and Bridge and many more.
Duomo Cathedral in Florence or, as it is officially called, The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, is the third largest church in the world, just behind the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and The Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, but used to be the largest in Europe at the time of its completion in the 15th century. It is 153-meters long, 90-meters wide and 90-meters high. The third and last cathedral in Florence, it was named Saint Maria del Fiore in 1412, clearly alluding to the lily flower, the symbol of the city of Florence. The first foundation stone was laid on the 8th September 1296, and the cathedral was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, who actively participated in the cathedral’s construction between 1296 and 1302. Arnolfo designed the cathedral to have classical elements, with four square bays, a large main altar surrounded by pillars which were to support the dome.
Consisting of two ogival caps connected to each other, the octagonal Brunelleschi's dome was built from 1418 to 1434 according to the design of Filippo Brunelleschi, presented in a competition in 1418 and accepted after many complaints in 1420. A masterpiece capable of withstanding lightning, earthquakes over the centuries, which today tends to impress anyone who observes it from afar, the dome has a diameter of 45.5 meters. In 1418 the Opera Santa Maria del Fiore announced the competition where Brunelleschi won the main prize and only two years later did the works begin only to last until 1434. On March 25 in 1436, the Florentine Cathedral was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV.
Giotto’s Bell Tower is one of the four main components of the Duomo Square in Florence. The tower itself is 84,7 meters tall and around 15 meters wide. It is the most magnificent example of Gothic Florentine architecture of the 14th century that, in spite of its vertical nature, doesn’t neglect the principle of firmness. Completed in white, red and green marble, much like the marble used for the Duomo Cathedral, this magnificent bell tower with a square base is considered the most beautiful in Italy, and it was possibly erected to serve a decorative rather than a funcional purpose. The bell tower was designed by artist Giotto di Bondone in 1334.
The Baptistery of Saint John is one of the oldest churches in Florence, and is located in front of the city cathedral, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. The baptistery is octagonal-shaped, completely covered by white and green marble from Prato. The dome on the building consists of eight segments and the fascinating structure, which merges faith with history and art, was the cause of many problems during its long history. People from Florence believed that the baptistery is an ancient building, dating back to the ancient Romans, and that it used to be a pagan temple before it was converted into a church.
The access to the archaeological remains of Santa Reparata is situated on the second span of the south nave of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Florentine Cathedral. Santa Reparata was among the greatest Paleo-Christian complexes of Tuscia, and its importance is even more pronounced by its location in front of the Florence Baptistery. The site was characterized by three naves, with the colonnades delimiting the central nave and a fence separating the apse-choir and the public cult area of the church. The construction seems to originate from the times of Christian victory over Radagasio, King of the Goths, in 405.