Six hundred years ago, on August 7, 1420, the first stone was laid in the construction of the dome of Florence Cathedral, based on plans by Filippo Brunelleschi. Still the largest masonry ever built in the world, the cupola is visited by about one million people every year.
A lineup of events will be held throughout the year to mark this important milestone. Florence lovers can expect concerts, shows, talks, book presentations and virtual tours, but the real draw for 2020 will be night-time 3D video mapping on the dome’s exterior for the first time in the cupola’s history.
The celebrations will get underway on April 16 with the La Cupola armonica concert at the Cathedral. Sognatore di cupole will be played for the first time, a commissioned piece by Palermo-born composer Salvatore Sciarrino. The US-naturalized-Swedish conductor Gary Graden will lead the choir and orchestra. The special evening will reintroduce the old manner of singing and playing inside the dome, something that has not occurred for centuries, with musicians positioned on the upper galleries along the apse and the dome.
On October 8, head to the Cathedral for the premiere of the play titled Con il cielo dentro, written by Davide Rondoni and directed by Giancarlo Cauteruccio.
On November 20, enjoy the performance Oltre l’azzurro. Il sogno di Brunelleschi, with music by Silvia Colasanti and lyrics by Maria Grazia Calandrone. The piece was commissioned by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and will be performed by the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana from the Fiesole Music School, under the baton of French conductor Pierre-André Valade, alongside the Cappella Musicale della Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and Pueri Cantores.
For the first time in its 600-year history, 3D video mapping will be projected onto Brunelleschi’s Dome during nights throughout September. The images will display some of the most important moments in the monument’s construction. The Impossible Machine is the project’s name, which has been designed by architects Roberto Corazzi and Samuele Caciagli, and draws upon innovative technology provided by Stark, a leader in major architectural projections and 3D video mapping. The projects will be visible from piazzale Michelangelo and the south side of the city.
On September 25 and 26, scholars will gather for the international conference Around Brunelleschi’s Dome: comparing cathedral constructions (Italy, France and Spain), held at the Antica Canonica di San Giovanni. On November 19 and 20 (also at the Antica Canonica di San Giovanni), interested parties can attend the conference titled Filippo’s Egg. Brunelleschi’s Dome through history, luck and preservation.
Starting May 4, visitors can take part in an immersive tour held in the Opera del Duomo Museum. A pair of virtual reality goggles provides unusual insight into the building of Brunelleschi’s dome through audio, images and words about six points of interests. Students at Florence’s art colleges are invited to create a work of art inspired by the cupola, which will be judged by a group of experts. The winning creation will be displayed in the entrance hall of the Opera del Duomo Museum.