Brunelleschi's Dome is a unique work of its kind built by Filippo Brunelleschi without modern technologies.
The Cathedral of Florence had already been built in 1315 but the covering of the building, despite the efforts of the workmen incapable of finding a solution, represented an insoluble problem for more than a century.
It was Filippo Brunelleschi with Lorenzo Ghiberti's help (Ghiberti collaborated on the Brunelleschi Dome project only for 5 years) who, in 1412, started the works for what is still considered a miracle of the architecture today. When it was completed, the Dome was the biggest of the world. Still today, Brunelleschi Dome
is the biggest stone dome ever built. This architectural magnificence was completed in 16 years without the use of scaffoldings supporting the weight of the Dome during its construction.
This architectural technique has been a secret for centuries and it still captures the interest of worlwide researchers. It is still not clear how Brunelleschi could conceive such an architectural project since thare are no other known examples of similar stuctures at that time.
The secret of how Brunelleschi could conceive the construction of the Dome has fascinated the world of architecture: still today the theories trying to explain where Brunelleschi learned such techniques divide the academic world.
Some researchers mention his Roman experience during which he could have learnt useful elements of architecture for his project. Actually, in Rome there are no architectural structures built as the Dome of the Cathedral, even though at that time in Rome there were remarkable domes such as the Pantheon one, which was the biggest before the realisation of the Dome of Florence.
Others researchers try to explain Brunelleschi's dome architectural elements makinf reference to persian buildings. They try to link the knowledge of theFlorentine architect with the study of the methods used for the big Asian mausoleums.
In the Eastern architecture there are examples such as the doble dome of Soltaniyeh's Mausoleum in Iran built at the beginning of the 14th century or other examples of brickworks according to the spina pesca and pattern that somehow could be compared toBrunelleschi's technique.
But even making reference to such examples , Brunelleschi's Dome is a unique example for its dimensions, its brickwork technique and the materials used.
In truth, what let Brunelleschi's genius conceive such a complex project is an insoluble problem.
The only clear evidence is the talent of the great Florentine architect with the use of architectural techniques and geometric rules. Thanks to these skills, Brunelleschi had acquiered a particular ability with the perspective view.
Brunelleschi was also a perfectionist, a quality that had developed and expressed during the construction of his famous watches of which only one has left in the tower of the Palagio of Scarperia.
Brunelleschi also designed many construction machines useful to raise materials. These machines represent an exceptional example of progress in the field of construction at the time.
Thanks to the support of this machinery, it was possible to raise up the materials which were used both in the contruction of the Dome and of the lantern which was later placed on the top of the Dome.