Each city on our tour was crowned by an iconic dome, or two, each beautiful in its own way, each a symbol of the city it graces.
- Basilica di San Marco, Venice
- Duomo, Florence
- Pantheon, Rome
- St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Five domes top Basilica di San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, in Venice. This stunning, Byzantine-inspired cathedral was built in the 11th century to replace an even older church. The bones of St. Mark are enshrined in the Basilica. The sumptuous interior contains glowing gold mosaics. Four bronze horses, stolen from Constantinople, are on display at St. Mark’s Basilica.
In Florence, the skyline is dominated by the Duomo, the dome of Catttedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Filippo Brunelleschi designed this engineering marvel of a dome within a dome in 1436 under the patronage of Cosimo de Medici. Brunelleschi studied the Pantheon‘s dome for inspiration. The Duomo in Florence is the largest brick dome ever constructed.
The Pantheon in Rome is the original mother of domes, inspiring the Duomo in Florence, the dome of St.Peter’s Basilica, and even the United States Capitol. The ancient structure was built around 120 A.D. by the Emperor Hadrian as a temple dedicated to the worship of all gods. Later, it was converted to a Christian Church. Numerous kings of Italy are entombed here, along with the famous painter Raphael. The Pantheon’s dome is mathematically perfect: as high as it is wide, at 142 feet from floor to roof, and from side to side. The oculus at the top is open to the sky.
Michelangelo designed the dome atop St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City after studying the Pantheon. At 448 feet high, it is the tallest dome in the world, crowning the largest church in world. Michelangelo began working on the dome in 1547, and it was completed after he died in 1564. The dome at St. Peter’s Basilica features distinctive ribbed patterns.