are ornamental structures placed on top of larger domes or
roof tops. Throughout history, cupolas have served several
Roof cupolas primarily function as a
means for ventilation and air circulation, releasing warm,
air. Larger Cupolas with an open air design were often
used as belfries, housing cathedral bells. Many cathedral
roof cupolas, were accessible from the interior of the
church, and therefore, they were known as belvederes, providing
a scenic view of the surrounding land.
Cupolas flourished throughout Italy, and
became an architectural symbol of the city of Florence.
During the Renaissance and Medieval periods, the cupola
was a key feature of the cathedral, and often included
ornate details and frescoes on exterior of the domed cupola.