Restoration has begun on the multicoloured gilded mosaics that cover the dome of Florence Baptistery, a campaign that is expected to take six years to complete.
The dome boasts 1,000 square metres of mosaics, consisting of 10 million polychrome tiles ranging in size from 5 to 20 millimetres. The aim of the restoration is to recover the structural stability of the mosaics and their adhesion to the dome, returning the glory of the gold background and the bright colours of the glass tiles. An intricate mushroom-shaped scaffolding is being erected to perform the restoration.
The new accessibility of the dome’s mosaics provides a unique experience that will only be possible during the restoration. The public will now be able to see the dome’s interior up close, showcasing works that date to 1225. Originating from preparatory drawings by artists such as Cimabue and Coppo di Marcovaldo, the Last Judgement is displayed in a grandiose scene, surrounded by narrations of the Stories of Genesis, Joseph the Jew and Christ and the Baptist. The depiction of Christ as Judge is believed to have been the source of inspiration for the depiction of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The work site and restoration were commissioned and are being financed by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, in agreement with the Archdiocese of Florence, under the supervision of the Department for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of the Metropolitan City of Florence and the provinces of Prato and Pistoia.
Visits will begin February 24 (65 euro and in Italian) and can be booked here.