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HIDDEN TREASURES OF FLORENCE:THE CRICKETS’ CAGE Brunelleschi Cupola Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral – Firenze

Cricket’s Festival is one of the most ancient and traditional event in Florence and was celebrated even in Michelangelo’s days, when the great artist referred to this event to mock a colleague. After the Brunelleschi Dome was completed, the decoration of the drum, that’s the octagonal base that sustains the Cupola, remained unfinished. In 1506 the municipality held a contest and the winner was the sculptor and architect Baccio D’Agnolo who designed the loggia-style balustrade between each of the eight white ribs. According to the tradition, Michelangelo, who joined the competition with his “losing” project, “dug a stroke” to Baccio, saying that the gallery under construction seemed “a cricket cage”, similar to the ones used for the Cricket’s Fest. Baccio D’Agnolo felt so sorry about the merciless comment of Michelangelo that he abandoned the construction that had just begun. To this day, just one of the eight sides of the cupola has a walkway (the one overlooking Via del Proconsolo), while the other seven sides of the top of the drum have remained in rough brick.

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