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The current façade of the church was designed and completed in 1876 by Emilio De Fabris, who sought to create a Gothic theme that would harmonize nicely with Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery. Okay, I can’t resist. One last story about the dome: In 1419, the city’s wool-merchant guild held a competition to design it. Two goldsmiths entered; Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi. Back in 1401, Ghiberti had won the commission to design the Baptistery doors, but Brunelleschi managed to clinch the dome competition. The two continued to be fierce rivals, with Ghiberti bragging he could do a better job during contruction. At one point, Brunelleschi “called in sick,” allowing Ghiberti to take over the project. Eventually, Ghiberti threw in the towel, and Brunelleschi swaggered back in to save the day.

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