All the coins that were found in the Roman soil belong to the period from the reign of emperor Gordianus III (238 to 244) to the reign of emperor Honorius (395 – 423). The evidence suggests that the first Basilica was built at the end of the fourth century or during the first decades of the following century, after the victory of the Roman army over Radagaisus.
This Basilica of Santa Reparata was possibly the first construction of a complex including the Bishop’s palace, the Baptistry of San Giovanni (Florence Baptistry), a hospital, a parsonage, a graveyard and two other churches. (Yes, the Baptistry of Florence is of extremely ancient origin and much of the present structure long pre-dates the Duomo).
|Santa Reparata, the Baptistry and associated buildings in early Florence|
|Map showing the floor plans and relative positions of the three successive churches of the Duomo area.|
But, as Giovanni Villani says in his 14 C Nuova Cronica, Santa Reparata at a certain point began to seem too rough and too small for the newly ambitious of Florence of the 13 C, so much so that in 1293 it was decided to reconstruct the building. On the 8 September, 1296 the cornerstone was laid to the new cathedral. This new Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is normally called), was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio. By 1375, the old church Santa Reparata had been pulled down and the new Cathedral finished in 1436 with final completion of the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi (the yellow floor plan above), the construction of this vast project having lasted 140 years, the collective efforts of several generations, interrupted by the Black Death.
|Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo di Firenze)|
A single 10 Euro ticket allows you access to all parts of the Duomo, including the crypt.
Crypt of Santa Reparata Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10am-5pm
Thursday: May and October 10am-4pm, July through September 10am-5pm, January through April and November and December 10am-4.30pm
Closed: Sunday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Epiphany, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Feast of St. John (24 June), Feast of the Assumption (15 August), Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8 September), All Saints’ Day (1 November).
Author: Anna Maria Baldini
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