Principal Opera Offices
I. Positions reserved for those enrolled in the Wool Guild, parent institution of the Opera, by provision of the Florence Commune.
The highest position at the Opera (cathedral board of works), unpaid. During the period covered by The Years of the Cupola six wardens, chosen by lot from qualified members of the Wool Guild, normally served simultaneously; they took office in overlapping four-month terms (4 in January of every year, 2 in March, 4 in May, 2 in July, 4 in September, 2 in November). The wardens constituted the deliberating body of the Opera, authorized to establish its institutional, planning and economic choices. Resolutions and fund allocations were dictated by the wardens and could be revoked only with the approval of the consuls of the Wool Guild. One of the wardens in office was often drawn to serve as PROVOST (PREPOSTO) and endowed with executive powers between meetings of the full membership of the Opera.
The treasurer of the Opera was chosen by lot from the roster of qualified members of the Wool Guild. The term of service, remunerated, lasted for six months, starting on 1 January and 1 July of each year. The treasurer kept the account books of the Opera, collected the amounts due and effected the payments authorized by the wardens; he was personally responsible for his accounting and for the funds managed in his term.
FOUR CUPOLA OFFICIALS (QUATTRO UFFICIALI DELLA CUPOLA)
Office instituted in 1419 to assist the normal complement of wardens in the close supervision of the construction of the cupola; unpaid. The officials were four in number specially elected by the Wool Guild for the duration of a year, variously renewable. This was an advisory organ, not empowered to make resolutions or allocations of funds.
FOUR SACRISTY OFFICIALS (QUATTRO UFFICIALI DELLA SACRESTIA)
An elective, unpaid office of the Wool Guild, created in 1413, but active on a continuous basis only from 1426, to defend and exercise the guild's rights in managing religious services in the cathedral. From 1427 the functions of the four cupola officials were also placed under this office. Note that in the sources these high officials are frequently, if inaccurately, termed SACRISTANS (SAGRESTANI).
OFFICIALS FOR THE ALTAR AND TOMB OF SAINT ZENOBIUS, THE ORGANS, THE ORGAN LOFTS AND OTHER WORKS (UFFICIALI SOPRA L'ALTARE E SEPOLTURA DI SAN ZANOBI, GLI ORGANI, I PERGAMI E ALTRI LAVORI)
An elective, unpaid office of the Wool Guild, of unspecified duration, instituted in 1432 in order to solicit and directly supervise certain prestigious projects for the crossing area with a view to the opening of this sector to religious functions. Its members were three former wardens, including Matteo di Simone Strozzi, who served until he was exiled from the city in 1434. The officials were initially authorized to distribute funds for the projects entrusted to them, but their management proved inefficacious and the office was suppressed in 1437.
ACCOUNTANTS OF THE WOOL GUILD (RAGIONIERI DELL'ARTE DELLA LANA)
Officials elected by the Guild from the pool of enrolled members to check the accounts of the treasurers of the Opera.
II. Elected positions open to non-members of the Wool Guild.
The notary of the Opera was elected by the Wool Guild, normally for renewable annual terms. This paid appointment involved the composition and official redaction in Latin of all the acts of the wardens, such as resolutions and allocations of funds.
Salaried administrative official, elected by the Wool Guild, with a variable and renewable term of office. The administrator supervised works in course and inspected supplies to the work site, keeping his own separate copy of the allocations of funds and other acts, drawn up in the vernacular.
MASTER BUILDER (CAPOMAESTRO)
The head of the Opera's work site was an elective and salaried appointment of the Wool Guild. In the period preceding the construction of the cupola the office traditionally involved an important role of architectural planning. During The Years of the Cupola, on the other hand, the office was called MASTER BUILDER OF THE BOARD OF WORKS (CAPOMAESTRO DELL'OPERA) to distinguish it from that of the architects responsible for the cupola project, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, properly known as SUPERVISORS OF THE CUPOLA (PROVVEDITORI DELLA CUPOLA). In this period the office, annual and renewable, was continuously held by Battista d'Antonio, who appears as VICE MASTER BUILDER OF THE BOARD OF WORKS (VICE CAPOMAESTRO DELL'OPERA) after leaving the formal office to his son.
SUPERVISORS OF THE CUPOLA (PROVVEDITORI DELLA CUPOLA)
During The Years of the Cupola two supervisiing architects were responsible for the project of the cupola and its realization: they were Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti, who were elected by the Wool Guild for annual terms renewable until the completion of work. The amount of the emolument varied.
WAGE CLERK (SCRIVANO DELLE GIORNATE)
Official elected to record the days and hours worked (giornate) by the builders at the work site of the Opera; renewable and salaried appointment.
MESSENGERS AND DEBT COLLECTORS (MESSI ED ESATTORI)
Officials elected by the wardens to run errands and collect revenues due in the city and countryside. The appointment, renewable, had varible duration and retribution.
LAWYER OF THE BOARD OF WORKS (AVVOCATO DELL'OPERA)
Special ad hoc official elected directly by the Opera for the purpose of protecting its legal interests in disputes. The office, typically an annual appointment, was paid by honorarium.
NOTARY OF TESTAMENTS (NOTAIO DEI TESTAMENTI)
An elective position of the Opera, occasional and at times paid by commission rather than salary, for the identification and the collection of dues on last testaments owed to the Opera.
Officials elected by the Opera to keep track of its rights at such communal offices as forced loans and new gabelles, which were bound to contribute to the finances of the cathedral. A paid position, normally of limited duration and occasional in character.
III. Elected officials detached from the central administration of the Opera
GUARD OF THE FOREST (GUARDIA DELLA SELVA)
An official elected by the Opera to protect its interests in the Casentino forests ascribed to the cathedral by the Commune. Salaried and renewable appointment of variable term.
SUPERVISORS OF OUTSIDE WORK SITES (PROVVEDITORI DI CANTIERI ESTERNI)
Various and numerous situations gave rise to the election, on the part of the Opera, of salaried personnel charged with overseeing work sites outside the cathedral. Among these were the administrators assigned to superintend the Trassinaia quarries, the preparation of papal apartments at Santa Maria Novella and fortifications in the Florentine territory.