The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore began to rise in 1296. From father to son, to son again, the architects, stonemasons and artists of Florence labored with love and devotion to produce the greatest cathedral the world had ever known. Pausing only for the black plague of 1348, the great cathedral grew until by 1418 all was complete but the dome. In a fit of mad ambition and optimism the basic design set over 100 years earlier called for a dome higher and wider than any that had ever been built - either in 1296 or, as it turned out, in 1418. Without a dome, 122 years of work threatened to be uncrowned.
-Alexander Tabarrok, Launching The Innovation Renaissance: A New Path to Bring Smart Ideas to Market Fast