Florence, Italy

Florence may have been my favorite city on the trip, in part because our hotel offered an outstanding rooftop view of the cityscape nearly 360 degrees around. The city itself had a lot of medieval and renaissance era architecture. The most notable building in the city is probably the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral features the largest masonry dome in the entire world, and its construction still baffles many architectural experts. The sophisticated 348 foot tall dome (ground level to top) was designed primarily by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377- 1446), and took 16 years alone to build. The entire Cathedral was built between 1296 and 1436 and primarily designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. Changes have since been made to the Cathedral, including its 19th century Neo-gothic facade, which was completed in 1887. This beautiful facade features the red, white, and green colors of the then new Italian flag. To my surprise (and disappointment), the interior was actually very plain in comparison to the exterior, compared to some of the other cathedrals we had visited previously on the trip, such as the one in Siena.

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