Posts tagged ‘Duomo’

Siena’s Cathedral – Exterior

Siena’s other main tourist attraction (along with the Piazza del Campo) is the magnificent striped Duomo mainly built-in the 13th/14th centuries with various later alterations. 

I’ve seen so many cathedrals, castles and stately homes in my 43 years (many at home in the UK) that it is easy to take them for granted…….but we really shouldn’t. The skill, craftsmanship, determination and ambition that went into the construction of these monuments is truly staggering, I doubt very much whether we would even contemplate building something like this these days. So each time we visit one we should doff our caps to the “greater fools” of a bygone age who masterminded their construction.

Cathedral Exterior, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Cathedral Exterior, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Cathedral Exterior, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

In case you’re wondering I first came across the phrase “Greater Fool” in Aaron Sorkin’s excellent TV series “The Newsroom”:

“The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed” – Sloan Sabbith to Will McAvoy in “The Newsroom”.

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Piazza dei Miracoli

Although Pisa (apologies if you’re still “guessing” the location from my last post but one…;0)…) is most famous for its “Leaning Tower”, that somewhat ignores the other, and arguably more impressive, medieval monuments that clamour for attention in the Piazza dei Miracoli where the tower stands. Also known as the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) or Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) this gigantic open space in the northwest of Pisa is home to four quite magnificent architectural treasures in the Romanesque style. 

The shot below just about shows all four monuments in question – most prominent is the Baptistry, behind that is the Duomo (Cathedral) and behind that the Campanile (or leaning bell tower) itself. The short section of wall that you can just see in the lower left corner (and runs behind the Baptistry and Duomo) is the Camposanto (or Holy Field): a monumental walled cemetery where many prominent Pisans have been laid to rest.

A fact I didn’t appreciate until I visited, is that the Campanile is not the only monument in Pisa that leans, because apparently both the Baptistry and the Duomo do as well. I hope that partly explains the slightly exaggerated distorted angle of the Baptistry in the shot below, although I suspect that some of that is due to the wide-angle lens I was using as well:

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Florence’s Duomo

Along with Rome’s Colosseum and Pisa’s Leaning Tower, the Duomo in Florence is one of Italy’s “big three” tourist attractions……..and with good reason.

Also know as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (“Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower”) construction started in 1296 and the main building took 150 years to complete. Giotto’s bell tower (the campanile) was built between 1334 and 1359; the famous dome (widely regarded as one of the finest masterpieces of the Renaissance) was added between 1420 and 1436 and the neo-gothic facade was re-designed in the late 19th Century.

From the outside it is truly breathtaking, not just because of its monumental size, but also because of it’s aesthetically pleasing form – most notably the stunning octagonal red brick dome (the largest masonry dome in the world) the elegant 85m high campanile and the fabulous pink, white and green marble decoration.

Next up, shots from the top of the campanile……

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

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