July 4, 1442, a mystery still unsolved in Florence

July 4, 1442, a mystery still unsolved in Florence

We are in Florence in the church of San Lorenzo created by Brunelleschi and  great wish of Cosimo the Elder, the progenitor of the Medici family.

On the vault of the dome of the old sacristy there is a celestial vault that faithfully reproduces the map of the sky above the city on the date of July 4, 1442.

The work was created by a decorator painter of the time, Giuliano d’Arrigo known as Pesello, on the recommendation of the mathematician astronomer and cartographer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli.

What happened on that day to be immortalized for everlasting memory?

To deepen the mystery even more, is added the fact that the exact same sky is painted in the Pazzi Chapel in the cloister of the church of Santa Croce. This too is a church built by Brunelleschi.

What extraordinary event led two powerful and, always antagonistic families to immortalize the same date in the vault of their chapels?
Perhaps a secret agreement between the two families of which there is no documentary trace and of which history is not yet aware.

Or perhaps an event that involves both of them but which has never been officially disclosed for reasons unknown to us.

Many assumptions have been made, but none that fully satisfy.

After all, if it had been an official event, there would be traces, at least in the chronicles of the time.

Instead, nothing appears to have happened on that precise date.

Yet something exceptional, so important as to be secretly celebrated by two frescoes in as many chapels, must have happened.

Maybe after centuries someone would find its traces and shed light on the mystery.

The mystery remains unsolved, the search is still ongoing but the two splendid celestial vaults remain to remind us that July 4, 1442 has a place of honour in the history of the two families.

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