The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral is the defining landmark and compass of the city. It represents the immense wealth of Florence through the ages, thanks in large part to a thriving banking and textile trade. Built across two centuries by several different architects and with masses of funding from the city’s wealthy patrons and political class, the dome was added by Brunelleschi and is the first octagonal dome in the world built without wooden joists for support. The exterior is a mosaic of vertical and horizontal bands of polychrome marble in red, white, and green, all dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Several of the works inside honor the great citizens of Florence, including Dante and Ghiberto, as well as details of religious narratives.

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