Florence Cathedral cathedral

Filippo Brunelleschi see all


Early Renaissance

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March 25

The dedication of the cathedral of Florence was celebrated by Pope Eugenius IV and the papal chapel, then resident in Florence. The Pope's magister capellae (master, or leader, of the chapel) was then Guillaume Dufay, a native of the region of Cambrai in northern France.


December 6

The operai of the Florentine Cathedral stated that in order to improve the level of divine worship there, Ugolino de Giugnis, a canon of the Cathedral, was commissioned to elect "Magister Benotto and his associates who sing at the church of San Giovanni (the Baptistry) to sing Vespers at Santa Maria del Fiore on festive and solemn days." Another document dated the same day mentions writing to Lorenzo de' Medici, "ambassador of Florence to the pope, presently in Ferrara,' so that he could inform the pope of the decision, specifying the number of singers to join Benotto as three.



At this time the lantern of the cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore was begun; and the palace of Cosimo de' Medici; and the churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito, and the Badia on the way to Fiesole; also many houses near the walls in the neighbourhood of San Barnaba and Sant'Ambrogio, and in several other parts.


Andrea del Verrocchio is contracted to make a golden ball (palla) to be placed on top of the lantern of Brunelleschi's cupola on the Duomo in Florence.


May 27

A Monday, the gilt copper ball was put up on the lantern of the cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore(1).


June 2

A bell was hung in Santa Maria del Fiore, the largest of all, recast.


April 1

A lad of about twenty-three, a peasant from the neighbourhood of the Sieci, was arrested, who on Easter night had shut himself up in Santa Maria del Fiore, and hidden under the altar of Our Lady towards the Chapter-house; the next morning he robbed the Madonna of certain silver ornaments on her arms and legs and eyes, and behaved in a disgusting way to show his contempt. And imagine how utterly worthless this crazy fellow was, when he had only been liberated by the captain on Holy Thursday after having been imprisoned for theft. On Saturday he was hung from the Campanile. I have mentioned him rather than others, because having been let out of prison on Thursday, the very next Sunday he committed this outrage.


April 26

At about 15 in the forenoon (11 a.m.) in Santa Maria del Fiore, whilst high mass was being celebrated and the Host elevated, Giuliano, son of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and Francesco Nori were killed, near the choir of the said church towards the door which goes to the Servi; and Lorenzo de' Medici was wounded in the neck, and fled into the sacristy and escaped. They were killed in consequence of a certain conspiracy made by Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Franceschino de' Pazzi and Guglielmo de' Pazzi, the which Guglielma was he brother-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici, his wife being a sister of theirs, called Bianca. And the sons of Messer Piero de' Pazzi were also there, that is, Andrea and Renato and Niccolo; and of the house of Salviati, there were Francesco, Bishop of Pisa, and Jacopo Salviati, who was son-in-law to Filippo Tornabuoni, and another Jacopo also a Salviati, and Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, Bracciolini and Bernardo Bandini of the house of Baroncegli, and Amerigo Corsi, and many others. The conspirators brought Cardinal di San Giorgio(1) here, who was a young man; he entered Florence on the day above-mentioned, and they all came together in Santa Maria del Fiore, and, as I have said, at the elevation of the Host seized their swords, and it is said that Francesco de' Pazzi struck Giuliano, and Bandini the other. And having killed Giuliano they wanted to kill Lorenzo, but did not succeed, as he fled into the sacristy. Meantime the Bishop de' Salviati, with Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, and two of his relatives who were both called Jacopo, went to the Palagio, with several priests, feigning to desire to speak to the Signoria, and they spoke to the Gonfaloniere, and became somewhat confused. The Gonfaloniere perceived the treachery, and he and his companions shut themslves up here and there, and ordered the doors to be closed, and the bell run for a parlamento. And what with the rumour which came from Santa Maria del Fiore of Giuliano's death and the bell ringing at the Palagio, the city was immediately in arms. And Lorenzo de' Medici was taken to his house. Meantime Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi rushed on horseback to the Piazza de' Signori, crying "Popolo e liberta!" (The People and Liberty!), wishing to take the Palagio, but the bishop not having succeeded in getting possession of it, Messer Jacopo was not able to enter. He then went towards his own house, and was advised to take to flight; and he fled by the Porta all Croce, together with many men-at-arms, in the Piazza and at Lorenzo de' Medici's house. And numbers of men on the side of the conspirators were killed in the Piazza; amongst others a priest of the bishop's was killed there, his body being quartered and the head cut off, and then the head was stuck on the top of a lance, and carried about Florence the whole day, and one quarter of his body was carried on a spit all through the city, with the cry of: "Death to the traitors!" That same evening the cardinal was taken to the Palagio, barely escaping with his life, all his companions being captured without exception.


March 25

The Holy Father gave a plenary indulgence in Santa Maria del Fiore for one day, from vespers on the 24th March till the next vespers, on the 25th March, which people availed themselves of with great devotion. The Cause of this was the preaching of Brother Antonio da Vergiegli in Santa Maria del Fiore during Lent, which bore good fruit.

April 26

On Easter Sunday, in an incident called the Pazzi conspiracy, a group including members of the Pazzi family, backed by the Archbishop of Pisa and his patron Pope Sixtus IV, attacks Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother and co-ruler Giuliano in the Cathedral of Florence. Giuliano is killed, but Lorenzo escapes with only a stab wound.


April 13

The Pope sent us an Indulgence, to be obtained by attending six churches: Santa Maria del Fiore, the Nunziata dei Servi, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito, and Sa' Jacopo in Campo Corbolini.(1) And it began on this day and lasted till Easter. Everyone who wished to obtain it had to visit these six churches on three mornings, confessing and doing penance; and had to lend aid, at the said churches, to the forces sent against the Turks.


March 25

Madonna Lucrezia, wife of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and mother of Lorenzo, died on the day of the Annunciation. And at this time the Pope sent us an Indulgence at Santa Maria del Fiore.


March 12

One Fra Bernardino,(1) of the Franciscan Order, having been elected preacher for Lent in Santa Maria del Fiore, preached very enthusiastically over and over again, persuading the people to make a Monte di Pieta, and to send away the Jews. As a consequence the boys got incensed against the Jews, and a number of them went to the house of a Jew called Manullino, who was a moneylender at the Vacca,(2) wanting to assassinate him and to pillage his premises. The "Eight," however, promptly sent their men to stop the mischief and published proclamations threatening offenders with the gallows. Thus the commotion was soon ended. The next morning, the 13th, the "Eight" sent to Fra Bernardino forbidding him to continue preaching, and despatched him to the Osservanza di San Miniato.(2) But even that did not satisfy them, and the morning after, Friday the 14th, the "Eight" sent their men again, some of them actually going in person, and commanded him to leave the neighbourhood entirely. This seemed a bad prognostic to those who were desirous to live a Christian life, as he was considered a saint. And it was not long before misfortunes happened to some of these "Eight": one of them broke his neck by falling from his horse, another this thing, and another that. Amongst the rest, that one who had gone in person to drive Fra Bernardino away from the Osservanza died mad in hospital. This the matter ended ill. God save us!


September 21

In Santa Maria del Fiore a stone half as big as a mule's pack fell from one of the rough windows high up on the cupola, towards the sacristy where the priests robe themselves; it fell just at the side of the choir. It happened at the hour when the priests robe themselves to say vespers, but although the church was already full of people, it hurt no one, which was a marvellous thing. God was pleased to be so gracious.


Botticelli serves on a committee to decide upon a fa├žade for the Cathedral of Florence.


March 10

Lorenzo's son, the cardinal, received the hat from the Pope.(1) It was given him at the Badia on the way to Fiesole (i.e. at San Domenico), and many citizens went out to meet him when he came into Florence to visit the Signoria; and the next day he went to hear mass in Santa Maria del Fiore. And on this day the Signoria presented him with 30 loads of gifts carried by porters, being silver plate, and basins, and ewers, and dishes, and all the silver utensils that can possibly be used by a great lord. According to what was said, they were estimated at more than 20 thousand florins, although that seems impossible to me; but it was public report, and therefore I set it down. It was certainly a rich and magnificent gift. Praise be to God!

April 5

At about 3 at night (11 p.m.) the lantern of the cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore was struck by a thunderbolt and it was split almost in half; that is, one of the marble niches and many other pieces of marble on the side towards the door leading to the Servi,(1) were taken off in a miraculous way; none of us had ever in our lives seen lightning have such an effect before. If it had happened at the time when the sermon was being preached (for a sermon is preached every morning now, with 15 thousand people listening), it must of necessity have killed hundreds of persons. But the Lord did not permit it. This marble niche fell and struck the roof of the church between the two doors which lead to the Servi, and broke the roof and the vaulting in five places, finally fixing itself in the brick floor of the church. And many bricks and much other material from the vaulting fell also, reaching as far as the benches placed for the sermon, where many people would have been sitting. Some material fell in the choir as well, but not very much. Many pieces of marble fell outside the building, beyond the door leading to the Servi; one piece falling on the stepping-stones in the street, and after having split the stone, burying itself underground; another piece was hurled across the street, and struck the roof of the house opposite the said door, where it split the roof and many beams and vaultings, and finally buried itself in the ground under the cellar. Although the house was full of people, no one was injured. A man called Luca Ranieri lived there. You may imagine that they nearly died of amazement and terror at the fearful noise; for besides that which fell into the cellar, many pieces fell on the roofs all around. The gallery on the cupola was also injured.(2)


November 17

The King of France entered Florence at 22 in the evening (6 p.m.) by the Porta a San Friano, and passed through the Piazza (de' Signori), proceeding so slowly that it was already 24 (8 p.m.) before he reached Santa Maria del Fiore. He dismounted at the steps, and walked up to the High Altar, there being so many torches that they made a double row from the door to the altar, leaving a way clear in the middle, along which he went with his barons and all his suite, amidst such tumultuous shouting of Viva Francia as was never heard. Only think that all Florence was there, either in the church or outside. Everyone shouted, great and small, old and young, and all from their hearts, without flattery. When he was seen on foot he seemed to the people somewhat less imposing, for he was infact a very small man. Nevertheless there was no one who did not feel favourably disposed towards him. Therefore it should have been eas tomake him understand that our hearts are innocent of guile, and that we are truly devoted to him; so that he ought to feel moved towards us in uncommon measure, and to trust us absolutely. This is really the case, and he will see in the future what the faith of the Florentines signifies. Upon coming out of church, he remounted his horse and rode on to the palace of Piero de' Medici, amidst continued cries of Viva Francia. Never was such joy seen before, or so much honour done to anyone, with heartfelt sincerity, as we were in hopes that he would bring us peace and rest. In the end it proved not to be so, as he took Pisa from us and gave it to the Pisans, which he had no right to do, seeing that he could not give what was not his.(1)

November 23

The king rode out with a great troop of horsemen, and came to the Croce di San Giovanni; and when he was near the steps of Santa Maria del Fiore, he turned back and went towards the Servi; but having gone a few paces, he turned round again, and again went to the Croce di San Giovanni,(1) going at the back of San Giovanni, through that narrow Chiassolino,(2) and coming under the Volta di San Giovanni, d' Cialdonai(2); and those who saw him laughed,(3) and said slighting things of him, causing his reputation to suffer. Then he went through the Mercato Vecchio, and on as far as San Felice in Piazza, to see the festa of San Felice, which they were having on his account; but when he reached the door he would not enter; and they repeated everything several times, but he did not enter once.(4) Many people said that he was afraid, and did not wish to be shut in, and this proved to us that he was more afraid than we were; and woe to him if a disturbance had begun, although there would also have been great danger for us. But the Lord has always helped us, on account of the prayers of His servants and of the number of holy monks and nuns in the city, who are in truth on their way to God. At this time two Venetian ambassadors to the king arrived, and there were also the Genoese ambassadors, who came, it was said, to demand Serezzana and other things from him.

November 26

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

December 6

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

December 7

The said offering was made. And he preached again in Santa Maria del Fiore, and ordered that a procession should be made, in order to thank God for the benefits received.

December 14

14th December (Sunday). We heard how those Frenchmen who were marking the houses in Rome had been driven away, and many had been killed; the Romans wishing to defend themselves and not accept the Frenchmen in their city.


January 13

Girolamo Savonarola preaches his great Renovation Sermon to a huge audience in the Cathedral of Florence.

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