Santa Maria del Fiore: exterior

The long, difficult work on the facade went on for centuries: in the 1800s, the cathedral still had its temporary brick exterior ordered by the grand duke Francesco I at the end of the 1500s. Finally, in 1867, a public competition decided the definitive design but also started an endless series of arguments: at a certain point, two different versions of the facade were put up so that the Florentine people could decide through a popular referendum.

This episode reminds us of the republic’s glorious past when active participation of the people took shape and contributed to that grandiose work of art that is a sort of summing up of all the art contained in the city. Today, as in the past, the Duomo strongly maintains this connection and its presence is still an unmistakeable symbol of man’s genius and spirit.