Chapter One begins with the original announcement for the August 19, 1418, competition for the design of Florence 's magnificent cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, which had been under construction for more than a century. The winner of the competition would receive two hundred florins, which was a good deal of money for that time and more than a skilled craftsman could make in two years of work. Artisans from across Tuscany enter the competition and are given six weeks to build a model of, create a design for, or make suggestions for the dome of this cathedral, which has a variety of structural problems that need to be solved. ...
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...he point that this huge building was built at a time of simple tools and limited knowledge, so different from today. Ross then describes the path a visitor would take to experience a little of what it was like to work on this magnificent structure. The fact that visitors can still climb to the summit of this dome is a testament to the genius of Filippo Brunelleschi. Many centuries later this structure is still sturdy enough to be climbed by visitors from around the world. Even Michelangelo came to study this dome, which he was never able to surpass in size or beauty. The strength of this dome is continually reinforced in the minds of readers by the mention of all the stress put on this cathedral, from lightning strikes to street traffic. Not only was Filippo able to build this massive dome, he created a dome that could survive natural disasters and modern technology.
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