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THE GOLDEN BALL OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE

The leaf Manetti shines on the Dome since 400 years.

The golden ball of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral was built by Andrea del Verrocchio in 1468. Placed on the Cathedral on 27th of May in 1471, the ball immediately became a symbol for Florence citizens. In particular on 8th of April in 1492 when, almost as premonition, of Lorenzo de Medici’s imminent death, lightning struck Verrocchio’s work. The problem of electric shock is perpetuated throughout 1500 until the night of 17th of January, 1601, when the golden ball, with its 2.30 meters in diameter and 18 tones in weight, was struck by lightning and fell down from the Cathedral. In order not to forget the danger and damage of lightning on the Cathedral and in the square, in the exact spot of the fall was marked by a slab of marble, still visible today.

 

Golden ball of Santa Maria del Fiore in genuine gold leaf

 

To restore the damage on Verrocchio’s work the most important jewelers of the time were called. For his skill and because did not ask to be paid, among them was chosen Matteo Manetti, belonging to the third generation of the Giusto Manetti Battiloro family. On 18th of September in 1602, Matteo, only a month along, finished the restoration of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral gold ball. For the quality of work, Matteo was awarded with the title of Opera Goldsmith and for 400 years the ball has withstood the damage of time and weather.

In 2002 Giusto Manetti Battiloro funded a new restoration of the golden ball, returning it to its splendor that time tried to hide: as a sign that the time passes, but the traditions continue…


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