The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence
The superb story of the architect Filippo Brunelleschi and the design and construction of the Great Cathedral in Florence - one of the most magnificent achievements of the Italian Renaissance.
Even in an age of soaring skyscrapers and cavernous sports stadiums, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence still retains a rare power to astonish. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour, technical ingenuity and bitter personal strife involved in its creation. For over a century after work on the cathedral began in 1296, the proposed dome was regarded as all but impossible to build because of its enormous size. The greatest architectural puzzle of its age, when finally completed in 1436 the dome was hailed as one of the great wonders of the world. It has gone down in history as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.
This book tells the extraordinary story of how the cupola was raised and of the dome's architect, the brilliant and volatile Filippo Brunelleschi. Denounced as a madman at the start of his labours, he was celebrated at their end as a great genius. His life was one of ambition, ingenuity, rivalry and intrigue - a human drama set against the plagues, wars, political feuds and intellectual ferments of Renaissance Florence, the glorious era for which the dome remains the most compelling symbol.
Brunelleschi's Dome was voted Non-Fiction Book of the Year by American Independent Booksellers.
Praise for Brunelleschi's Dome
A wonderfully vivid little bookDaily Telegraph
An adventure yarn set on the wild frontiers of human knowledge... abounding with excellent storiesFinancial Times
As each novel feat of genius engineering flowers high above the ground, details of scandals and pranks blow up from the city streets to create an altogether enchanting taleDava Sobel, author of Longitude
Compelling... professional jealousy, committee intrigue, feats of bluff and fascinating scraps of obsolete lore... Where Longitude had ocean wastes, Brunelleschi's Dome has vertigoSpectator