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Il Grande Museo del Duomo

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L'architettura ritrovata/Rediscovered Architecture

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Natalini Architetti, Guicciardini & Magni Architetti

paperback with flaps
245 × 290 mm, 112 pp.
oltre 100 colour illustrations

isbn 978-88-7461-336-6 Italian/English

A 17th-century copy of a 16th-century drawing is all that remained of the proposed facade for the Florentine cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore by Arnolfo di Cambio. This is also all that was available to those who worked on its reconstruction for the new Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The Arnolfine facade, which was never finished and was later demolished at the end of the 16th century, now lives again in the Sala del Paradiso, the hall inside the museum that recreates Piazza San Giovanni, located between the Duomo and the Baptistry. There one can admire its statues and appreciate – from near and far – the visual and theological significance awarded by this great architect in the 14th century.

This “miracle” materialised in less than three years of work, but was the result of more than 10 years of study, investment and planning. The long-held desire to reproduce the facade that Arnolfo di Cambio had imagined for the Duomo was subject to an extended waiting period for resources and the spaces necessary to realise the project. Its long and tormented past is the subject of this volume, which, through many images and exhaustive essays, tells of the philological and ideological care, the research of materials and construction techniques, the design process, the completion, and the November 2015 opening of the museum, carving into history the reconstructed Arnolfine facade.

Not only the facade, but also an entire museum process is revisited and elaborated upon with the same aforementioned attention and philosophy, hall after hall. It is through the voices of its main architects: the museum director Mr. Verdon, the project supervisor Paolo Bianchini, the architecture firms Natalini and Guicciardini & Magni, the Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, the engineer Leonardo Paolini, the sculptor Niccolò Niccolai, those who shared in its infancy like Anonio Paolucci, and Mario Ciampi’s photography studio, that this adventure has been immortalised.