Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), Florence

Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), Florence (must see)

Presiding over the city of Florence, the Duomo Cathedral is a Renaissance masterpiece renowned for its masonry dome, the largest in the world. Completed in 1465, this dome is a double shell and is entirely self-supporting.

The Gothic-style Cathedral itself took nearly 170 years to build, starting from 1296. It wasn't until the mid 1400s that its true identity was found, courtesy of the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who was commissioned to the project after many others had given up on it. Brunelleschi looked for engineering solutions to the great dome of Pantheon in Rome, and experimented with large-scale models and specially-designed machinery.

In particular, to lift 37,000 tons of material, including over 4 million bricks, he invented machines and lewissons for hoisting large stones. Fascinated with this machinery, the then young apprentice Leonardo da Vinci made series of sketches, for which, later on, he was often credited for the actual invention. Despite that, however, Brunelleschi's name never fell into the oblivion and today a huge statue of the architect is set firmly in the piazza before the Cathedral.

The mixture of marbles seen outside is just as outstanding and represents a unique combination that looks rather like paint than a piece of rock art.

***DANTE'S FLORENCE TOUR***
Inside the Dome, just before the presbytery, on the left aisle wall, you can see the “Dante and the Divine Comedy” fresco by Domenico di Michelino. This painting depicts Dante (1265-1321) with a copy of his Divine Comedy book next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory, and the spheres of Heaven above. The painting was made in 1465, to mark the poet's bicentenary, and replaced an earlier painting of him in exactly the same spot.

What's also interesting is that, apart from the Divine Comedy scenes, it shows images of 15th-century Florence, which Dante himself could not have seen in his lifetime. This, in turn, makes it a most valuable historical artifact. To see it up close, you'll have to climb some 450 steps up the narrow and spiraling stairs, circumnavigating the dome on the inside.

Tip:
When buying a ticket online, make sure to use of the free ticket that comes with it, in order to climb to the top, where you can step out and see the panoramic view of Florence, the adjoining Tuscan scenery and mountains. You have to make a separate booking for that too, although free of charge.

Opening Hours:
[Cathedral] Mon-Sat: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: 1:30pm-4:30pm
[Dome] Mon-Fri: 8:30am-7pm; Sat: 8:30am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-4pm
[Baptistery] Mon-Fri: 8:15am-10:15am / 11:15am-7:30pm; Sat: 8:15am-7:30pm; Sun: 8:15am-1:30pm
[Crypt] Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat: 10am-4:30pm; Sun: CLOSED
[Bell Tower] Daily: 8:15am-7:20pm
[Museum] Daily: 9am-7pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Florence. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) on Map

Sight Name: Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)
Sight Location: Florence, Italy (See walking tours in Florence)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank Walking Tour

The area south of Arno river, also called Oltrarno ("Beyond the Arno"), is a quieter place but not less interesting. Here you can find the Pitti Palace whose collection of paintings is second only to the Uffizi, and the vast Boboli Gardens once enjoyed by the Medici and the royal family. One of the first and most important examples of "Italian Gardens", they later served as...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance – during which time he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces the city had ever seen. The most famous of them – the David – was larger than life, and brought a larger-than-life image to the artist. No amount of photos or copies of the statue will do it justice, so to see it with your own...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Medici Landmarks Walking Tour

Medici Landmarks Walking Tour

The Medici family helped to establish Florence as the single most important art capital of Renaissance Europe. In order to prove wealth and power, they built numerous palaces, libraries, churches, chapels and personal residences. The Medicis were big lovers of art and they acquired huge, expensive collections, as well as supporting many sculptors and painters of the time.

Designed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Florence Introduction Walking Tour

Florence Introduction Walking Tour

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers. It was built initially in the style of an army garrison – with main streets intersecting at today's Piazza della Repubblica. The original name, Fluentia, stems from its location between the two rivers; later, it was renamed Florentia, which means “flowering” or “flourishing”.

The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Florence Food Tour

Florence Food Tour

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic Tuscan meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here – besides the abundant variety – is not having to spend a lot of money for it.

In general, the “osterias” and the eateries nestled in Sant’Ambrogio Market will offer cheaper and more casual food with an emphasis on home...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri was arguably the greatest – albeit also most controversial – of Italy's poets. After having served as one of the six priors governing Florence, his political activities – including the banishing of several rivals – led to his own banishment, upon which he wrote his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, as a wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town after...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

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