Events and people in over 260,000 days of history

13th – 14th centuries

The Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, St. Mary of the Flower, to replace Santa Reparata.

8 September 1296

The foundation stone of Santa Maria del Fiore is blessed. Some sources claim that the event took place in 1298. Architect Arnolfo di Cambio is commissioned to design the cathedral. He dies some time between 1301 and 1310.


The Statute of the Captain of the People of Florence rules that five of the seven Major Guilds preside over the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore on the basis of an annual rotation.

January 1331

The body of St. Zenobius, the bishop of Florence from 376 to 407, is found in Santa Reparata. His skull is placed in a silver reliquary specially made for the occasion by Filippo Arditi (and still kept in the cathedral), while his other remains are replaced in the grave in which they were found.

2 October 1331

The Commune of Florence gives the patronage of Santa Maria del Fiore to the Arte della Lana, or Wool Merchants' Guild, and institutes a new system of funding based on the earmarking of regular, fixed sums of public money for the Opera.

13 April 1334

The Commune of Florence appoints Giotto to the post of architect of the Opera.

18 July 1334

Construction work begins on the bell tower, to a design by Giotto.

8 January 1337

Giotto dies and is buried in the cathedral.


Andrea Pisano is appointed master of the works. He focuses on the bell tower, which was begun under Giotto and which he takes up to the fourth level. Andrea and his assistants (Maso di Banco, Nino Pisano, Alberto Arnoldi, Gino Micheli da Castello and others) produce 21 of the 26 hexagonal panels for the lower level, all of the lozenge-shaped panels for the second level, and the eight statues for the west and south sides of the tower. Those on the west side were moved to the north side in 1464.


Andrea Pisano is banished from Florence following the expulsion of the Duke of Athens. A number of sources claim that he resumed his post with the Opera in 1348.


Andrea Pisano dies. Francesco Talenti is appointed to the post of master of the works.


Talenti produces a new design for the cathedral, substantially altering Arnolfo's design by considerably enlarging the width of the bays and reducing their number to three so as not to change the length of the nave and aisles.

19 June 1357

Talenti's design for the cathedral is approved.

29 March 1359

The bell tower is completed under Francesco Talenti's supervision.


Talenti reappears as master of the works alongside Giovanni Ghini.

19 November 1367

A commission of architects, "master painters" and goldsmiths approves the final design for the nave and aisles (which includes the addition of a fourth bay) and for the apsidal area. The work is entrusted to Giovanni Ghini and Francesco Talenti in their capacity as joint masters of the works.


The last parts of Santa Reparata still standing are demolished.


The vaulting over the nave of Santa Maria del Fiore is finished.


The side aisles are completed.

8 June 1380

The Alpe del Corniolo, a forest on the Appennines separating Tuscany from Romagna, which the Florentine Republic had confiscated from the Conti Guidi di Modigliana, is given to the Opera del Duomo to ensure a regular supply of wood for the cathedral construction site.


Work commences on the north door, the Porta della Mandorla.


Leonardo di Simone, Piero di Niccolò Tedesco and Antonio da Pisa are commissioned to produce the stained-glass windows for the nave and aisles.

15th century