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  Logic Path: Home Page >> The Secrets >> Volò giù per un fulmine. Uno 'SCUDO' di reliquie

Volò giù per un fulmine. Uno 'SCUDO' di reliquie

The death of Brunelleschi in 1446 caused the standstill of the work of the lantern, of which only the foundation had been laid. The work was completed eleven years later by Antonio Manetti. The ball, however, was completed years later by Verrocchio, who used copper gilded with amalgam of mercury. It was set in place on May 27, 1471, as told by Landucci in the "Diario". There is also a small mystery. According to some documents conserved in the archives of the "Opera del Duomo", the commission had been given to the famous artist after the failure of another ball, which was fused into one piece by Giovanni di Bartolomeo and Bartolomeo di Fruosino, the authors of the button. Most likely, it had been proven impossible to apply an internal framework to that sphere and the systems of anchorage at the top of the lantern. The contract with Verrocchio expressively predicted that the ball be constructed "of eight pieces". In order to buy the best copper, which came from Cipro or from central Europe, the artist stayed several months in Venice, awaiting the arrival of the right shipment. Six "pieces of copper" were then shipped to Florence by wagon, via Bologna, in August of 1469 and the other two in October. After the insertion of the ball on the top, along with the cross, everything went well until April 5, 1492, when a flash of lightning knocked down more than a third of the lantern. But this was only the beginning. In the years that followed, lightning furiously attacked the top of the Dome more than once. Then disaster struck on January 27, 1601, when the umpteenth bolt of lightning caused the ball and the cross, together with infinite marble, to fall into the square and to scatter over half of via de' Servi. The rumble was tremendous, as if it were the end of the world. And still today, between the Pallottole Square and the Cathedral, lies a disk of marble as a reminder of the point in which the sphere broke. Some claim that it was reconstructed a bit larger, others that it was only restored. The truth being, that the ball, weighing approximately eighteen quintals, was put back in place in 1602; instead, the cross was redone by the master Agnolo Serani, having a "magical" variation with respect to the previous one. By requests from the Grand Duchy and the archbishop, two lead cases were extracted from the gilded wings. And the inside was filled with some "Agnus Dei"- wax medals with the image of the Lamb, blessed during the week of Easter - and relics of saints. They were supposed to protect the Cathedral from lightning: as so explicitly affirmed in the Latin inscription on the cases. Since there wasn't a lightning conductor, the only thing to do was to trust in God.


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