Florence

Exploring The Magnificent Florence Duomo

Florence, often called “the birthplace of Renaissance”, “the Athens of the Middle Ages”, is one of the most charming, quaint and picturesque cities in Italy. The entire city, literally, feels like a piece of art with its beautiful sights, Renaissance architecture, cobblestoned streets and relaxed small-town vibe. There is much to see and experience here, in the capital of Tuscany, including one of the most famous churches in the world, the ‘Duomo Di Firenze’ or the Florence Duomo.

The Florence Cathedral, although famous for its sheer size, look and beauty,it has a ton of history and is one of the most popular and well-respected monuments in all of Italy. The Duomo is as emblematic of Florence as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris, so a trip to this city definitely warrants a visit to this magnificent masterpiece.

Duomo Florence Cathedral in a Nutshell

Duomo Florence
Duomo Florence
Duomo Florence

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or the Florence Cathedral is a monument dedicated to the Virgin of the Flowers. Initially designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the construction of this church began in 1296. Interestingly enough, the cathedral took 140 years to complete and the project was worked on by a number of different architects such as Giotto di Bondone, Andrea Pisano, Alberto Arnoldi. Out of all the people who worked on the cathedral, perhaps none are as famous as Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith, who won a design competition and thus was commissioned to design and construct the dome of the church. Today, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the 4th largest cathedral in all of Europe, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Duomo Florence Cathedral - History & Architecture


Duomo Florence

As mentioned earlier, Florence is considered the Cradle of the Renaissance, and the construction of the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore more or less paved the way for this movement.

Initially, when Arnolfo di Cambio first began the project in 1296, it followed more of a Gothic style of architecture, with characteristics of Tuscan-style Romanesque architecture, as seen with the inlaid marble panelling. It wasn’t until Filippo Brunelleschi became part of the construction, that the new method and style - an ingenious and artistic combination of Gothic-style architecture and the principles of classic Roman architecture - was implemented and used. Brunelleschi proposed, with his design, to create a self-supporting dome. His design involved creating two domes - an inner and outer dome, with the inner shell being self-supportive using masonry blocks, brickwork and embedded chain supports. Ultimately, this dome turned out to be a massive success and set the tone for the new style, method and spirit of scientific and aesthetic enquiry - the key feature of the Renaissance movement.

The interiors of the cathedral are vast and breathtaking. From beautiful frescoes, paintings, statues and stained glass designs to ornate doors and complex mosaics, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is truly an inspirational work of art, from both outside and in.

Duomo Florence Cathedral Tickets


Florence Duomo Skip the Line Guided Tour

Duomo Florence

  • Skip the long lines and head straight into Florence’s most beautiful church, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
  • Enjoy a tour of this age-old monument led by an expert, local guide.
  • Explore the church and see the magnificent dome designed by the legendary Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the main pioneers of the Renaissance movement in Europe.
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Exclusive Tour of Florence Duomo with Dome and Secret Terraces Access

Duomo Florence

  • Enjoy a lovely, guided tour of the Florence Cathedral and take in all its beauty and rich history.
  • Head to the terrace and relish the panoramic views of Florence from multiple viewing points.
  • Get a closer look at the world-famous dome and enjoy exclusive access to the Northern Terrace - a site only recently opened to the public.
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Guided Tour of Duomo Monumental Complex with Duomo Museum

Duomo Florence

  • Take a tour of Florence’s most popular and historic area - Piazza del Duomo.
  • Skip all the lines and get priority access to the Florence Cathedral, St. John’s Baptistery and the Museum of the Works of the Cathedral.
  • Bask in the work of some of the greatest artists, architects, sculptors and painters in the world, and enjoy some delicious wine and cheese to cap off the tour.
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Florence Duomo and Accademia Gallery Guided Tour

Duomo Florence

  • Get 2 birds with 1 stone with this amazing combo pass.
  • Begin by exploring the Accademia Gallery, which houses one of the best art collections in Italy! See the world’s most famous and intricate sculpture - ‘David’ by Michelangelo, right here at the Gallery.
  • Next, head to the Florence Baptistery and get a chance to study Lorenzo Ghiberti’s ‘Gates of Paradise’.
  • End the tour with a visit to the Florence Cathedral and marvel at the massive dome that adorns this beautiful church.
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Florence Duomo, Uffizi and Accademia Galleries Full Day Guided Tour

Duomo Florence

  • Experience the best of Florence with this tour that takes you throughout the city.
  • Get access to two of the most famous art museums in the world - The Accademia and Uffizi Gallery.
  • Head to the Piazza del Duomo and marvel at the Il Duomo, one of the greatest feats of engineering and architecture, and arguable the structure that inspired the Renaissance movement in Europe.
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How to Skip The Long queues at Duomo Florence Cathedral


1. Purchase Skip the Line tickets online

The Duomo is the most famous tourist spot in the whole of Florence, and you are bound to encounter crowds of people exploring the Cathedral. You can opt for Skip the Line Tickets to avoid the long entry queues and head straight inside to admire the magnificent Cathedral, the bell tower, and the dome.

2. Take a guided tour

A guided tour ensures that you not only get skip the line entry into the Cathedral, but also an insight into the history of the Cathedral and its significance to Florence. Your expert guide comes with the knowledge of many phases of construction that the Florence Cathedral has witnessed so far. If you are looking for a holistic experience of exploring Cattedrale di santa maria del fiore, consider booking a guided tour.

Duomo Florence Tour Deconstructed


Taking a guided tour of the Duomo is definitely the way to go, as it is the best way of experiencing, embracing and understanding this magnificent monument.

With a guided tour, you not only get a knowledgeable, local guide by your side, but also skip the line access to the cathedral itself (which is very, very handy). But before entering, just stand outside and take in the beauty of the dome and facade of the church. This dome is perhaps the most well-known aspects of this cathedral and for good reason. Once inside, there is much to see, admire and learn. Stroll through the cathedral as your guide explains to you all the nuances and tiny aspects of the church. Learn about how it was built and about the main man behind this - Filippo Brunelleschi.

Although the interiors may seem bare at first glance, there is actually quite a bit to see. Keep an eye out for the 44 stained glass windows that depict saints from the Old and New Testaments. There are also a number of exquisite paintings and frescoes in the cathedral, including ‘Dante Before the City of Florence’ by Domenico di Michelino, and a colossal rendition of ‘The Last Judgement’ painted by Giorgio Vasari, right below the dome. Apart from the paintings, there are also quite a few sculptures and statues worth taking a look at.

The highlight of a guided tour is definitely visiting the terrace. From here, you not only get a wonderful, panoramic view of the City of Florence, but you also get a chance to look at the dome, or ‘cupola’ more carefully, and see the intricate work that went behind creating it.

Things to do around Piazza del Duomo, Florence


Florence Baptistery

One of Florence’s most important religious buildings, the Battistero di San Giovanni, is dedicated to patron saint, John the Baptist. It is one of the oldest buildings in Italy and is constructed in the Tuscan-Romanesque style. The Florence Baptistery is especially renowned for its artistic east doors created by goldsmith Lorenzo Ghiberti, dubbed by the great Michelangelo as the “Gates of Paradise”.

Duomo Florence Cathedral
Giotto's Campanile

Part of the Piazza del Duomo is Giotto di Bondone’s beautiful bell tower, a prime example of Fiorentine Gothic Architecture. Standing atop the Giotto's Campanile gives breathtaking views of the city and the Piazza del Duomo, however, you do need to climb 414 steps to savour this delicious view.

Duomo Florence Cathedral
Orsanmichele

Orsanmichele is a slightly unusual church in Florence, built on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele. It was initially a grain market, but in the 1300’s was rebuilt into a church after an image of Virgin Mary was discovered on one of the pillars inside.

Duomo Florence Cathedral
Porcellino

Il Porcellino is the local name for the bronze fountain of a boar. Located close to Piazza del Duomo, this figure has gained popularity amongst tourists and locals alike for its mystical and ‘luck-bringing’ powers. Tradition has it, that if you put a coin inside the mouth of the boar, while making a wish, and the coin slides down into the grate below, your wish comes true!

Duomo Florence Cathedral
Uffizi Florence

Perhaps the most famous and most visited building in all of Florence is the Uffizi Gallery. This museum houses one of the greatest art collections in the world and is a must-visit for all art-aficionados. Some of the paintings here include The Ognissanti Madonna by Giotto, Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello and countless others.

Duomo Florence Cathedral

Duomo Florence Cathedral Practical Information


Duomo Florence Opening Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10 :00 AM – 3:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:45 PM
  • Sunday and public holidays: 1:30 PM – 4:45 PM
  • Please note the Dome is closed to the public on Sundays.

Getting to Duomo Florence

Address
Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

By Train
Florence Train Station is located about 800-900 meters from the Piazza del Duomo. From this station, it will take you roughly 10-minutes to reach the cathedral, on foot.

By Car
Since the Piazza del Duomo is located in the heart of the city, there are a number of paid-parking services and garages nearby. The closest car park is near the Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station.

By Bus
The following bus lines stop near the Piazza del Duomo: 2, 22, 6, C2.

Accessibility

• Wheelchairs are available at the entrance to the museum and cathedral.
• There is special access to the cathedral for people with reduced mobility. It is located on the right side of the cathedral.
• Inside the monument, there is a TouchAble path for easier movement.

Facilities

You will find all the basic facilities (male and female washrooms, coffee shop, bookstore, ticket office and changing rooms) at the Museum, before entering the cathedral.

Dress Code

Although there is no specific dress code, you must remember that at the end of the day it is a place of worship. Both men and women must wear clothing that cover both, shoulders and knees. To be on the safer side, always carry a shawl or jacket with you.

Insider Tips on Visiting Duomo Florence Cathedral


  • Buy your tickets for the cathedral online! This not only saves you a ton of time at the venue itself, but you also get to avail special discounts and offers.
  • Remember, this is one of Florence’s most visited and popular monuments! I recommend taking a tour of this cathedral early in the morning or late afternoon. Coming at these times will help you avoid the crowds and enjoy the church in relative peace.
  • Make sure you visit the Cupola! The lines can get really, really long for this but it is definitely worth the wait.
  • Take a guided tour of the cathedral. Only when you understand and learn about the history of this great structure will the visit be worth it, wholesome and immersive. If you choose to do it without a guide, make sure you read up on the cathedral before making a visit.
  • Visit the other monuments and places in the Piazza del Duomo. This includes the Baptistery, the museum and Giotto’s bell tower.
  • Carry your camera! You are going to have a ton of great photo opportunities so make sure you carry your smartphone or camera.

Duomo Florence FAQs


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