Italy is a country full of domes. The Christian religion has led to the creation of truly majestic churches. In the period of the Renaissance period, magnificence was also measured in aesthetic and structural grandeur. Apart from religion and churches, thermal baths also played an important role when it comes to the building of domes. Now, let’s see the largest domes in Italy, sorted by diameter.
11. Dome of San Lorenzo, Turin
Height: 50 m
Diameter: 15 m
Characteristics: intrados formed by 16 crossed bands
Built between 1668 and 1680, the dome of the Church of San Lorenzo rests on 4 arches hidden within the structure. The building, designed by Guarino Guarini, was unique for the time.
10. Temple of Mercury, Baia
Diameter: 21.5 m
Characteristics: circular vault
The Temple of Mercury is part of the splendid Archaeological Complex of Baia, a hamlet of Bacoli, a municipality in the province of Naples. Today, only the hilly part of the city remains. The Temple of Mercury was used for cold baths, and it seems to have been composed of 6 niches, 4 of which were semicircular.
9. Dome of San Gaudenzio, Novara
Height: 121 m
Diameter: 22 m
Characteristics: built only with local materials
Designed by Alessandro Antonelli, the dome has undergone recent restoration interventions that have allowed it to become accessible to the public again. The first project of the dome dates back to 1841; the works ended in 1887.
8. Santa Maria della Casa, Loreto
Diameter: 22 m
Features: Renaissance style with octagonal drum
Main place of Marian worship and one of the most important shrines dedicated to Mary in the world. The dome is visible from a large surrounding area and is clearly inspired by that of Brunelleschi in Florence.
7. Thermal Baths of Agrippa, Roma
Diameter: 25 m
Characteristics: first thermal baths in Rome with a central dome
Baths built in the period of Augustus, between 25 and 19 BC, by Agrippa. The building measured 100 m wide x 120 m long. The various rooms were organized in an irregular way, as in the use of the time, around a large circular hall with a domed roof. Today, the building doesn’t exist as it has completely disappeared.
6. Sant’Andrea, Mantua
Height: 80 m
Diameter: 25 m
Characteristics: Baroque style dome
The Basilica of Sant’Andrea is the largest church in Mantua and is located in the historic center. Built according to a design by Leon Battista Alberti, there is a mix of styles: Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic. The majestic dome is in Baroque style and was added in the mid-1700s by Filippo Juvarra.
5. Basilica of Humility, Pistoia
Height: 59 m
Diameter: 29 m
Characteristics: decorated with three architectural orders in the drum
Giorgio Vasari’s Dome of the beautiful Basilica of Humility in Pistoia is the second largest dome in Tuscany thanks to its 29 meters of internal diameter. The construction is particularly impressive also thanks to the approximately 59 meters height.
4. Baths of Trajan, Rome
Diameter: 30 m
Characteristics: built in cement
Baths of ancient Rome built around 100 AD by Trajan (Traiano). At the time, they were the largest spa building in the world. Today, only parts of the complex remain.
3. Dome of St. Peter, Vatican
Height: 130 m
Diameter: 41.47 m
Characteristics: structure supported by 4 colossal pillars
Among the most important symbols of Rome, the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti and completed by Giacomo dalla Porta and Domenico Fontana. The dome rises at the intersection of the main nave with the transept. The drum is 3 meters thick.
2. Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
Height: 34 m
Diameter: 42.05 m
Characteristics: octagonal drum
Also known as “Brunelleschi’s Dome”, it’s still the largest masonry dome ever built. The dome is built based on golden proportions, as was customary at that time.
1. Pantheon, Rome
Height: 21.7 m
Diameter: 43.4 m
Characteristics: semi-spherical dome in concrete
Pantheon’s dome is one of the largest domes in the world. Decorated with 5 orders of 28 drawers, it weighs over 5,000 tons. It was made in a single cast.