The Florence Duomo

The Florence Duomo, the central cathedral in Italy, was completed in 1436. After its formal completion, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo's mentor, was called to put a bronze ball and cross at the top of the dome. It was an enormous feat that challenged the engineering and architecture of the time period. Leonardo was a young apprentice under Verrocchio at the time, making this specific project compelling and began Leonardo's interest in engineering design and machines. 


Latitude: 43.773438500000
Longitude: 11.256550100000

Timeline of Events Associated with The Florence Duomo

Date Event Manage

The fall of the Bronze Ball

In 1601, the Florence Duomo lost its bronze ball in a raging thunderstorm. Constructed of nearly two tons of gilded copper and being the highest point in this area of Florence, it was only a matter of time before the sphere was struck by lightning. The sphere did come crashing to the ground, but was quickly rebuilt and restored. The fall of the sphere from the Duomo was shocking and jolting to the people of Florence; in response to this, a white stone has been embedded in the ground in the exact place the ball fell in order to memorialize the engineering feat that was accomplished hundreds of years prior by Verrocchio.

Source: The sign of the fall of Verrocchio's golden ball in Forence. (2015, January 07). Retrieved from


The Construction of the Duomo begins

In 1296 the Florence Duomo began construction. Florentines desired a symbol to showcase the power and status of their city, and at this time there was no better way to do that than to create one of the largest and most immaculate cathedrals in the world. The duomo at its beginning had a Florentine Gothic style, until its reconstruction under Brunelleschi, when it transformed to more of a Renaissance style.

Source: Leonardo da Vinci in Florence: On the Lantern. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Brunelleschi is Hired to Build the Dome

In 1418, Brunelleschi is hired to build the dome. The former cathedral ceiling was worn down and leaked often. Brunelleschi's vison for a dome top was a new concept and was not at first embraced because of the engineering challenges it engages. Eventually, however, his plan went through and he was able to begin construction on the dome.