August 7, 1420: The start of construction of the dome
On this Day...
Exactly six hundred years ago - on August 7, 1420 – a banquet with melons and wine inaugurated the construction of Florence Cathedral’s dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The dome is the symbol of the Italian Renaissance, it has the largest vault made of bricks and the biggest diameter in history of art. Actually, it is the first modern architecture able the overcome the ancient roman buildings!!!
In sixteen years only, less than one hundred skilled workers built this absolute masterpiece of engineering, consisting of more than 4 million bricks, with an estimated total weight of around 28,000 tons, for an external diameter of 54.8 meters and 116 meters tall (the lantern that tops the dome is high as a six-story building, and it’s made of 600 tons of white marble).
This giant made of stones and bricks still keeps the secret of its construction. We know the dome consisted in two vaults: one supporting the other. Moreover, there are two ribs on the centre and two on the edges of each shell, and a series of horizontal arches between them. The structure is reinforced by hidden chains that surround it. We also know that the dome was raised thanks to ingenious machines designed by Brunelleschi himself (cranes and winches moved by animals) and that the work was carried out on aerial scaffolding, equipped with elevators and parapets!
We also know that no support ribs were built under the arches (at the time there were no wooden beams long enough to cover such a diameter!) So how was it possible to complete it? Scholars still debate about it...
Today we celebrete both the memory of this brilliant project and its courageous enterprise as well as the men full of confidence in their abilities! Thanks to them the world still marvel, after six centuries, at this incomparable beauty!
Among the many articles on this important anniversary we mention LAVANGUARDIA, read the article