Hundreds of animal footprints found on medieval cathedral roof in Florence

Petfix Club
18th January 2021 - 1 min read

A team of engineers were carrying out maintenance work on the hundreds of thousands of terracotta tiles covering the roofs and various domes of the medieval cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The team was shocked to find hundreds of animal footprints on the centuries-old roof tiles while carrying out their work.

Medieval Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Medieval Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Samuele Caciagli, architect in charge of technical aspects of maintenance at the cathedral explained “we found hundreds of prints of both wild and domestic animals, more specifically, dogs and cats, small birds, some foxes or martens”.

The team is now busy mapping out the footprints; it seems the creatures walked across the terracottas when they were originally made rather than on the top of the building. As the soft clay was drying, the animals walked over the tiles and left their prints.

animal paws on a roof

 If people want to see the tiles, they do not need to go up onto the roof, they can simply visit the cathedral museum and see for themselves.