The Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, or Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Flor is the episcopal seat (in Italian duomo) of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Florence, Italy. It is one of the masterpieces of Gothic art and the first Italian Renaissance.
Symbol of the wealth and power of the Tuscan capital during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Florentine cathedral is one of the largest buildings in Christendom. Its name refers to the lily, symbol of Florence, or the old name of the town called Fiorenza. But, on the other hand, a fifteenth-century document states that the «flower» refers to Christ.
It highlights, in a singular way, the great dome, work of Filippo Brunelleschi, an isostatic structure of 100 meters of interior height; 114.5 meters outside height; 45.5 meters of outside diameter and 41 meters of light (inner diameter) with the particularity that this dome, in itself, annuls the horizontal thrusts so as not to transmit to the drum that supports it practically more loads than the vertical ones corresponding to its own weight. To the dome we must add the independent bell tower, traced by Giotto, 82 m high, and the baptistery of San Juan, with the famous bronze doors of Ghiberti. The ensemble, formed by the church, the bell tower and the baptistery, is one of the artistic and architectural gems of Florence.
The basilica is within the declaration of the Historic Center of Florence as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1982.