Florence Cathedral (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore), Florence

Florence Cathedral (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore), Florence (must see)

Presiding over the city of Florence, the Santa Maria del Fiore 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. On the inside, it carries the “Dante and the Divine Comedy” painting by Domenico di Michelino, which is particularly interesting since, apart from depicting the Divine Comedy scenes, it also shows images of 15th century Florence and, as such, is considered one of the most valuable artifacts in the cathedral.

The building itself is the product of almost 170 years of sheer hard work. The Gothic-style structure was built in 1296, although it wasn't until 1420 that the true identity of the cathedral was found, courtesy of architect Filippo Brunelleschi who was commissioned to the project after many other architects had given up on it. Brunelleschi looked for engineering solutions to the great dome of Pantheon in Rome but also relied on his own intuition and practical experiments with the large-scale models that he built. 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, Brunelleschi's name never fell into the oblivion. Today, a huge statue of the architect is set firmly in the piazza before the cathedral thoughtfully observing his greatest achievement that has since and forever will dominate the skyline of Florence.

Without detriment to the majesty of the dome, getting closer to the сathedral is even more exciting an experience as one can literally feel vertigo observing the high tower, all solid and white, with the delicately made Baptistery doors and massive walls. Whatever time of day, the cathedral is always full of people, queuing outside to climb the bell tower, or simply anxious to admire the Renaissance frescoes of the dome or the colorful marble flooring inside. As to the mixture of marbles outside, it is just as outstanding and represents a unique combination that looks just like paint, whereas in fact, it's a piece of rock art. Still, if you care to go inside the Duomo, make good use of the free tour guides available who will explain to you the hidden meanings of the paintings, marvelous as they are.

***DANTE'S FLORENCE TOUR***
Paintings often really do tell a thousand words and in Michelino's one on the wall of the cathedral, you get to dive into the world of Dante. However, to see it up close you must climb about 450 steps through narrow and spiraling stairs. It is not a continuous climb as the first part levels out at about a third of the way, circumnavigating the inside of the dome.

Tip:
When buying the ticket online, remember to make use of the free ticket that comes with the main one, 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 booking for that too, separately, although free. There are museums as well, and you're required to finish visiting all facilities within 72hrs of initial entry to any part of the Duomo complex.

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
[Baptisery] 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

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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 (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore) on Map

Sight Name: Florence Cathedral (Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore)
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
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.
Florence Palaces Walk

Florence Palaces Walk

Towards the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere. Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
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. This self guided walk takes you to these and other wonderful places, along the way passing by charming...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of shops and markets where you can find something unique to Florence, that you might like to purchase to remember your visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Medici Landmarks

Medici Landmarks

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. This self-guided tour...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 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 virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town...  view more

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

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