Cupolas on the towers of Montefiascone Cathedral, Italy

In architecture, a cupola (pronounced /ˈkjuːpələ/) is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building.[1] Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome.[2][3]

The word derives, via Italian, from the lower Latin cupula (classical Latin cupella from the Greek κύπελλον kupellon) small cup (Latin cupa) indicating a vault resembling an upside down cup.[4]

Cupolas often appear as small buildings in their own right. They often serve as a lantern, belfry, or belvedere above a main roof. In other cases they may crown a tower, spire, or turret.[3] The chhatri, seen in Indian architecture, fits the definition of a cupola when it is used atop a larger structure.

The cupola is a development during the Renaissance of the oculus, an ancient device found in Roman architecture, but being weatherproof was superior for the wetter climates of northern Europe.

See also


  1. ^ "Glossary of Architectural Terms - C". Archiseek: Online Architecture Resources. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "cupola". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Just what is a cupola anyway?". Cupola Consulting. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  4. ^ In Italian cupola simply means dome, and the ornamental top element is called lanterna.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cupola — mit Astronaut Nicholas Patrick, STS 130 Navigation Internationale Raumstation Liste der ISS Module …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cupola — • A spherical ceiling, or a bowl shaped vault, rising like an inverted cup over a circular, square, or multangular building or any part of it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Cupola     Cupola …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • cupolă — CUPÓLĂ, cupole, s.f. Partea de formă semisferică, poligonală sau eliptică care alcătuieşte acoperământul unui dom, unei turle sau unui mare edificiu; boltă. – Din fr. coupole. Trimis de LauraGellner, 01.08.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  CUPÓLĂ s. boltă,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Cupola — Cu po*la (k? p? l?), n.; pl. {Cupolas} ( l?z). [It. cupola, LL. cupula, cuppula (cf. L. cupula little tub). fr. cupa, cuppa, cup; cf. L. cupa tub. So called on account of its resemblance to a cup turned over. See {Cup}, and cf. {Cupule}.] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cupola — (n.) 1540s, from It. cupola, from L.L. cupula a little tub, dim. of L. cupa cask, barrel (see CUP (Cf. cup)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Cupola — Cupola. См. Вагранка. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • Cupola — Cupola, S. Kuppel …   Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart

  • cupola — Véase cúpula. Diccionario Mosby Medicina, Enfermería y Ciencias de la Salud, Ediciones Hancourt, S.A. 1999 …   Diccionario médico

  • cupola — / kupola/ s.f. [dal lat. cupŭla, dim. di cupa botte ]. 1. (archit.) [copertura emisferica, a pianta circolare, ellittica o poligonale, di edifici monumentali] ▶◀ calotta, volta. 2. [copertura emisferica girevole e apribile, spec. di osservatori… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • cupola — meaning ‘a rounded dome on a roof’, is pronounced kyoo pǝ lǝ. The plural is cupolas …   Modern English usage

  • cupola — ► NOUN 1) a rounded dome forming or adorning a roof or ceiling. 2) a gun turret. 3) a cylindrical furnace for refining metals. ORIGIN Latin cupula small cask …   English terms dictionary

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