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As the city's skyline symbol, the legendary Duomo is famous above all for its dome: Filippo Brunelleschi's Renaissance masterpiece, completed in 1436, created a double dome shell so that the dome is entirely self-supporting. It still stands as the largest masonry dome in the world, containing over four million bricks! Climb to the top (all 463 steps) to get an unforgettable panoramic view of the city, which has changed little in the past 500 years. Construction started in 1296 on the site of the Roman basilica of Santa Reparata, of which there are still visible remains with a design by the great Florentine architect, Arnolfo di Cambio. The existing neo-Gothic facade was added in the 19th Century by Emilio De Fabris. Covering a massive 3600 square meters (38,750 square feet), the frescoes inside the dome depict the Last Judgment, painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. If you can stand the throngs of people and get a good spot early, come on Easter Sunday for the Scoppio del carro (Explosion of the Cart) where a oxen-drawn cart stuffed with fireworks comes from Prato to the center of the city and ignited.
Founded before 1000 C.E., this church was reconstructed in the 13th Century in Gothic style for the Vallombrosiani family. On entering there is a sober atmosphere which comes from the internal structure with its three naves, broken up into arcades with pointed arches on quadrangular pillars. It was based on the cistercene model from the time of Buontalenti. In the large Chapel, the frescoes contain scenes from Herototus Ordering the Massacre and The Massacre of the Innocents from the end of the 14th Century.
Sagrestia Vecchia dates back to the early 15th Century and is known to be designed by the famous Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi. The architecture of this structure speaks purely of geometry with the symmetrical designs and is made from white and gray stones. The rich interiors of Sagrestia Vecchia are designed by the renowned sculptor, Donatello and feature murals, frescoes and sculptures. This place is a popular tourist destination and is known for attracting architecture, culture and art enthusiasts.
Located in the heart of Florence, San Giovannino degli Scolopi is a Roman Catholic Church. The history of this church can be traced back to 14th Century when it was known as San Giovanni Evangelista. In the 16th Century, this church was reconstructed and boasts of the architectural designs by renowned architects namely, Bartolommeo Ammannati, Giulio Parigi, Alfonso Parigi il Giovane. Though the church looks simple from the outside, its interiors are richly adorned with frescoes, murals and mosaics from various centuries making it a popular tourist destination.
Encompassing the Biblioteca Laurenziana (the Laurentian Library - one of the most prestigious libraries in Italy) and the Cappelle Medicee, this basilica is a testimony to the political power and patronage of the Medici family. Its origins date back to 393 when Saint Ambrose consecrated it in memory of the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. Adorned with fabulous artwork, including the marble Altar of the Sacrament carved by Desiderio da Settignano, the basilica features major artists of the period, including Donatello, Verrocchio, Filippo Lippi and Brunelleschi. This church contains the tombs of many members of the Medici family, as well as that of one of their favorite artists, Donatello.
Compared to other religious buildings from the same period, this fourteenth-century church is somewhat unusual in design. Rectangular in shape, with two naves, it does look more like a grain store, which was in fact how it started out when first built by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravente and Benci di Cione. After the previous grain store built in 1290 by Arnolfo di Cambio was destroyed, its replacement had to be built on a larger scale, enabling it to contain a marketplace. Arches were later closed off and the structure acquired two floors that were used for shops. At the end of the 15th century the building was converted into a church and became a powerful symbol for the city guilds, which met the cost of decorating the niches situated along the outside walls. For this they commissioned several of the most talented artists of the day to produce magnificent pieces of artwork, including Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Giambologna, Luca della Robbia and Verrochio. Of particular note are the copies of Donatello's statue of San Giorgio and bas-relief, whose originals are now in the Bargello museum.
Situated in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the palace of the Medici family, Magi Chapel is popular for its rich interiors. The history of this chapel can be traced back to second half of the 15th Century. This chapel is known for the frescoes featured in its interiors. Painted by the popular Italian painter Benozzo Gozzoli, the three sides of the chapel are covered with magnificent paintings. The paintings describe the scene where three wise men are traveling to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. Magi chapel attracts many art enthusiasts due to its frescoes and is a popular tourist spot.
Actually it is a burial chapel rather than a sacristy. The Medici Pope Leo X had commissioned it for Lorenzo de' Medici, his brother and their two sons in 1920. The artist Michelangelo was charged with the responsibility for both the architecture and its embellishment. On the four sides there are four tombs watched over by the allegorical figures of Day, Night, Twilight and Dawn.