Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence  

Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

Welcome to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Let the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore transport you through time. More than just a church, this Gothic structure, with its red-tiled dome, is steeped in centuries of history. Built over an older cathedral, construction began in 1296 under the supervision of architect Arnolfo di Cambio. Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi engineered its dome, the largest brick dome ever constructed. Its completion in 1436 was the final stage of the cathedral"s construction. It"s not just the outside that dazzles; inside there are artistic treasures to discover, from Giorgio Vasari"s fresco "The Last Judgment" to Paolo Uccello"s intricate clock face. The cathedral complex is also home to the Baptistery, a small basilica, and Giotto"s Campanile, a free-standing bell tower.

© Elena Pueyo/Getty Images

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