Brunelleschi's astonishingly innovative approach involved vaulting the dome space without any scaffolding by using a double shell with a space in between. The inner shell (with a thickness of more than two metres) is made of light bricks set in a herringbone pattern and is the self-supporting structural element while the outer dome simply serves as a heavier, wind-resistant covering. The dome is crowned by a lantern with a conical roof, designed by Brunelleschi but only built after his death in 1446, while the gilt copper sphere and cross on top of the lantern, containing holy relics, was designed by Andrea del Verrocchio and installed in 1466.
The inner shell of the dome was frescoed by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari from 1572 to 1579, the subject matter chosen, namely the Last Judgement, reflecting the iconography adopted in the baptistry. The frescoes on the inner shell of the dome were the object of a thorough restoration between 1978 and 1994.
The Dome can only be accessed on a contingent basis with one of our companions or guides, following the restricted rhythms of the slot and not independently. No lift is available and there are many steps. The climb is not recommended for people with a heart condition or suffering from dizziness and claustrophobia. Bulky backpacks and bags are not allowed. No cloakroom available. It is possible to reserve free admission for the person with difficulties, by writing to the email email@example.com or by contacting the cash desk in Piazza Duomo 14, subject to availability, against a certification document. Any gratuity for the companion is subject to further considerations. For privacy reasons, the email conversation will be deleted. For any paying people to match, we kindly ask you to make the purchase online.