Florence Cathedral

April 7, 2012 — A church with a dome. It's pretty common in concept. However, it’s a bit more uncommon when that church is more than seven centuries old, that dome is the largest brick one pimpling the entire planet, and the whole thing overlooks one of the coolest cities in the world. Oh, and when its interior is heavily coated with the End Times.

Located in Florence, Italy, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, a.k.a. Florence Cathedral, a.k.a. Il Duomo, has loomed over the city since its first brick was laid in 1296. A brisk century and a half later, the whole thing was finished. At the time, it sported the largest dome ever created, and, as I already mentioned, it still to this day maintains that honor in the masonry category.

The current façade of the church only dates back to the 19th century, but even so is arguably its most striking feature with its complex array of clean geometrical shapes all outlined in a unique pink, green, and white color scheme. Adjacent to the cathedral itself is an unconnected but matching 28-story bell tower and a separate octagonal baptistery.

In its crypt are the remains of two popes and the architect of the dome, in its ceiling, the last judgment. The almost 40,000 square foot mural was painted by many artists over the course of a decade and is packed with glorious ascensions, infernal destinies, and the entire panoply of a supernatural cosmos bent on weighing out the lives of billions of naked apes.

The best part about the Florence Cathedral is not that you can be shriven from your sins mere feet away from a city where it’s a lot of fun to commit them, but that you can ascend to the top of the dome for an astounding view of the city. It’s about 460-odd steps to the lantern crowning the 300-foot-tall dome, and the path that gets you there wends its way up through tiny hallways and steep stone shafts. About half way up, it deposits you on a landing just under the ceiling of the dome and within slobbering distance of an engorging Satan.

A few cramped chimney stairwells later, though, and you’re out in the open air, viewing the red-tiled roofs of a breathtaking city from a dizzying height, mentally retracing the routes you’ve taken so far, and pleasurably taking God’s name in vain at the top of one of his holy places as it hits you in a way that bruises that you really, really are in Florence.

1 comment:

  1. These photos are fantastic.I wish I could visit this place myself.The past is very interesting and intrigueing to me.With all our technologie advancements,I feel personally humans are still behind in spiritual advancement.These images remind me how much art has been a huge part of our existence since early on and these people may have paid attention to more than money and self promotion as seems to be the focus for so many today.I realize we can not live without money so do not get me wrong not saying we do not need to earn it but so much more is important in our survival.Some people do not think the past matters but the past is extremly inportant to any type of advancement as progress is made by learning from mistakes. I do not consider myself to be religous but very spiritual(although I was brought up going to church).I hope you can continue doing this.If I ever win lottery maybe I too will join you in traveling to see soe of the great wonders of our world.Good luck & safe travels.Michelle in Florida