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The main basilica in Florence
Chronologically, it is the first great basilica of Florence, built by Dominican monksin the mid-thirteenth century. The Basilica took 80 years to build, culminating in its consecration in 1420. It was in this century that the Rucellai family commissioned its renovation by the architect Leon Battista Alberti, who completed the façade. The upper section was enriched with white and green marble from Prato, and decorated with ships with billowing sails and loose rigging, a symbol of the Rucellai family. Fun fact: the church façade was also used to perform astronomical measurements. In fact, on one side of the left door and on one side of the right door you’ll spot an armilla (to determine the solstice and equinox) and a sundial (to calculate the time throughout the day). The interior is enriched by Giotto's crucifix and frescoes by masters of the Gothic and early Renaissance, such as the Holy Trinity by Masaccio, St. Lucy and a Donor by Ghirlandaio, a series of frescoes by Filippino Lippi, and Giambologna’s Crucifix.
The pulpit, also commissioned by the Rucellai family in 1443, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and has a particular historical significance as it was from this very pulpit that Galileo Galilei was first verbally attacked, ultimately leading to his prosecution for heresy.
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