In this class, given by Cynthia Chung, we investigate why the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore is so special. How did a dome spark a Renaissance? Why did the Florentines work on such a huge, some thought impossible, project after the biggest European financial collapse? On top of there being no money, the plague was sweeping through Italy with up to a 50-70% mortality rate. And yet, Florence was wholly committed to building the largest masonry dome, still to this day, ever built. This class goes through why the dome was so important to Florence and how it helped bring Italy and Europe out of a dark age.