by King, Dr Ross | Italy
Paperback | 192 pages
‘Compelling… fascinating’ Spectator’Abounding with excellent little stories’ Financial Times
This is the story of one of the most magnificent achievements of the Italian Renaissance, and the architect behind it.
Even in an age of soaring skyscrapers and cavernous sports stadiums, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence still retains a rare power to astonish. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour, technical ingenuity and bitter personal strife involved in its creation. For over a century after work on the cathedral began, the proposed dome was regarded as all but impossible to build. The greatest architectural puzzle of its age, when finally completed it was hailed as one of the great wonders of the world.
This book tells the extraordinary story of how the cupola was raised and of the dome’s architect, the brilliant and volatile Filippo Brunelleschi. Denounced as a madman at the start of his labours, he was celebrated at their end as a great genius. His life was one of ambition, ingenuity, rivalry and intrigue – a human drama set against the plagues, wars, political feuds and intellectual ferments of Renaissance Florence, the glorious era for which the dome remains the most compelling symbol.
VOTED NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE AMERICAN INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS