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.
Five domes top the stunning Byzantine-inspired Basilica di San Marco in Venice, built in the 11th century to replace an even older church. The sumptuous interior contains glowing gold mosaics, and four bronze horses, famously stolen from Constantinople.
In Florence, the dome of Catttedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is simply known as the Duomo. 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. 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.
Michelangeo designed the dome of 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.