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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 Local Food Walking Tour

Florence Local Food Walking Tour

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here 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 cooking, but there's no shortage of “smart”...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Florence Introduction Walk

Florence Introduction Walk

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers. Later, the name was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this self-guided walk to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 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
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
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. Take this self-guided walk to admire Michelangelo's artistic mastership in Florence as well...  view more

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

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