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Woodworking Inspirations of Italy #3: Santa Maria del Fiore...Duomo Cathedral of Florence, Italy

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Blog entry by Bob Simmons posted 1180 days ago 3045 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: How Venice Italy was Built on a Foundation of Wood Part 3 of Woodworking Inspirations of Italy series Part 4: Decorative Inlay Patterns for Custom Hardwood Inlays »

The Cathedral of Florence, Italy...Santa Maria Del Fiore

“All truths are easily understood once they are discovered, the point is to discover them.”
Galileo Galilei
...Italian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician…(1564-1642)

The Santa Maria Fiore in Florence, Italy is an impressive sight. It is unlike anything that I have seen before because of its sheer size, its wonderful architecture, and its amazing detail. I first saw the Duomo (Cathedral Church) on a late afternoon in early April. The sky was pure blue and the low angled sun was shining on the front entrance of the church as hundreds of people were sitting on the various rows of steps which led to the cathedral. Most of the people seated on the steps were quite young and it was as if they were a part of something very unique and special. I have a feeling that many generations of people have been sitting on these steps all along for a number of centuries.

The first stone of the Duomo was laid in 1296. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the octagonal dome that began construction in 1420 and was completed in 1436. (Brunelleschi's dome was a first of its kind.) Work on the facade started in 1871 and was finished in 1887.
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Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence, Italy...looking towards the dome

One can not help but be attracted to the Cathedral of Florence Italy and I immediately had the urge to go up close and touch the facade of this building. I needed to see the detail of the marble sculptings and to feel them. There is so much design detail from afar and the same applies when taking a close look. You have to see this structure to truly appreciate what it offers and even then it is hard to take it all in at one time. However, you quickly become resigned and accept the fact that you will simply absorb as much as you possibly can given the time you have available.

The building is enormous. It is 502 ft. long by 295 ft. wide. It is 295 ft. tall from the pavement to the opening of the lantern in the dome. It is 375 ft. from the pavement to the top of the lantern.

The Dome of Santa Maria del fiore in Florence, Italy

The complete exterior facade of the Duomo de Florence is wrapped in a veneer of marble. There is white marble from Carrara, red marble from Siena, and green marble from Prato. Moreover, the amount of marble used for the exterior finish is mind boggling when one considers the processes involved from the initial quarrying the stone to the final installation. Think about this. The marble is dug out of the ground, it has to be cut and dimensioned, and it has to be polished. Now it has to be transported to Florence (Firenze) where it will be fit and installed on the exterior walls at varying elevations. Just imagine the scaffolding involved, the hoisting apparatus used, and the skilled workforce to apply the marble facing. What we today witness is the finished product, however there was obviously a great deal more involved with the construction than what we are able to see today. The quality of the workmanship is outstanding as attention is given to every detail.

As someone who has had a career in the trades as a finish carpenter and is a lifelong woodworker, I truly admire and respect the craftsmanship of the men who made Duomo de Florence possible. It is simply a masterpiece as everyone sitting in the sunshine on the front steps knows.

Learn How Venice Italy was built on a Foundation of Wood

View the Decorative Door Knockers of Florence, Italy.

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-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com



14 comments so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1320 days


#1 posted 1180 days ago

It’s a very powerful image; surely gets you thinking. Thanks for this.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7676 posts in 2679 days


#2 posted 1180 days ago

Looks like you are or just have been on a very nice trip Italy!

That’s GREAT! A LIFE’s experience…

Thank you…

Happy Memorial Day!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Napoleon's profile

Napoleon

788 posts in 1436 days


#3 posted 1180 days ago

What a great blog :)

I am going to Italy this summer. I am going to a little island called Ischia :D

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1641 days


#4 posted 1180 days ago

Al…

You’re right. It is a powerful image that stays with you along with powerful thoughts. Thanks for taking a look.

Joe…

Always great to see you! As you well know Italy is a wonderful experience with memories that last a lifetime. Happy Memorial Day to you as well.

Napolean…

Thanks! What a beautiful place Ischia looks to be! It must be heavenly. Have fun.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2586 posts in 1645 days


#5 posted 1180 days ago

My wife and I have been there to that very church and you are right, it is aweinspiring! We visited a lot of churches on our trip to Italy and would love one day to return. Thanks for bringing back pleasant memories!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View mtkate's profile

mtkate

2049 posts in 1952 days


#6 posted 1179 days ago

Nice blog – thanks for posting this.

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3156 posts in 2450 days


#7 posted 1179 days ago

Just a note, that the Carrara marble use on this Cathedral in 1296 is still being mind today. It was a favorite marble of all the greats from Filippo Brunelleschi to one Michelangelo.

View Skylark53's profile

Skylark53

2559 posts in 1687 days


#8 posted 1179 days ago

My mom grew up less than a mile from the church. We visited there in 1995; I’ve been back twice since. It is an incredible peice of work. Nice job on the blog. Thank you for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1641 days


#9 posted 1178 days ago

Bearpie…

Thanks for adding the lasting memories that you and your wife share. You’re absolutely right…the Santa Maria del Fiore is awe-inspiring. We also look forward to a return visit.

mtkate…

Thanks for your interest! Look for more in the future.

blackcherry…

Thanks for your insights! An example of the Carrara marble would be Michelangelo’s David (which is available to be seen in Florence.) It’s a beautiful white marble. (Speaking of Filippo Brunelleschi…what a magnificent dome he designed for the Santa Maria del Fiore.)

Skylark53…

I can only imagine what it would be for your Mom growing up in Florence near the Cathedral (Duomo.) Visiting this church is definitely an experience to remember and it is certainly understandable to return time and again.
It’s an amazing work created by very talented men. Thanks for taking a look!

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

View Napoleon's profile

Napoleon

788 posts in 1436 days


#10 posted 1177 days ago

Thanks Bob i am really looking forward to the trip :) i just gonna start on a repair on 43nordship boat and the owner is italian. He had a lot of import to Denmark and he said that he easily can get me some wood from his homeland so i am so exited to see what i can get of olive wood :)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View crank49's profile

crank49

3371 posts in 1598 days


#11 posted 1177 days ago

And they did that without a single CAD drawing I bet.

I can’t build a saw horse without making a drawing to go by first.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1641 days


#12 posted 1168 days ago

Napoleon…

Your trip sounds like a trip of a lifetime. I had never heard of Ischia prior to you mentioning it. It certainly has caught my curiosity. I’m curious about the characteristics of olive wood. Hope you enjoy it!

crank48…

“And they did that without a single CAD drawing I bet.” This same thought crossed my mind. The overall design is totally amazing from a distance. When you get up close to check it out, the fine details are even more incredibly amazing. The design has a sense of grace to it. My hat is off to the architects for this job.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2303 days


#13 posted 1167 days ago

Another master blog!!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 1641 days


#14 posted 1167 days ago

TopamaxSurvivor…

Thanks for taking a look! You would love this place.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV, http://TheApprenticeandTheJourneyman.com

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