La cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as Florence Cathedral, is one of the most beautiful works that can be admired by visiting the Tuscan capital. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, its construction began in 1296, more than two centuries after the construction of the great cathedrals of other cities. Its construction lasted 72 years, and was finalized in 1368 thanks to the contribution of numerous other artists who followed one another over time, including Giotto. Let's see together some useful information, to better organize the visit.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Hours and prices
- Tours, guided tours and tickets online
- What to see and how to visit Florence Cathedral
- Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- User questions and comments
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot: The Duomo of Florence is located in Piazza Duomo, in the historic center of the city. The dome that made it famous also makes it visible, and easily accessible. Get directions
- By car: The historic center of Florence is a pedestrian area and therefore, it is practically impossible to reach the Duomo by car. We therefore recommend that you leave your car in one of the car parks near the station and continue on foot.
- By train: The Santa Maria Novella railway station is only 750 meters from Piazza Duomo, which can be translated into a pleasant 10-minute walk. Cross the Piazzale della Stazione and take Via Panzani, you will reach Piazza San Giovanni, the Duomo rises behind the Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Hours and prices
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: from 10:00 to 17:00. Thursday: from 10:00 to 15:30. Saturday from 10:00 to 16:45. Sundays and holidays: from 13 pm to 30 pm.
- Best time to avoid queues: at opening hours (better to go a few minutes in advance)
- Single ticket € 18,00 (for the cathedral, the dome, the crypt, the baptistery, the bell tower and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo).
- Reductions: € 3,00 for children between 6 and 11 years old
- Free: children under 6 years old
Tours, guided tours and tickets online
What to see and how to visit Florence Cathedral
What is commonly referred to as "Florence Cathedral"is actually the set of a series of buildings and structures built in different eras, thanks to the contribution of great artists. Here is a brief description
1 - The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: curiosities and historical notes
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the third largest church in the world, immediately after San Pietro in Rome, and San Paolo in London. 153 meters long, 90 meters wide at the cross and 90 meters high from the floor at the opening of the lantern, it was built over the cathedral previously dedicated to Santa Reparata. The work began in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio, who conceived the project of a basilica with classical spaces, with three large naves that flowed into the vast choir where the main altar is placed, in turn surrounded by the stands on which the Dome will be engaged. Underneath the cathedral excavations were then carried out in order to dedicate the area to the burial of the Florentine bishops. Recently, the history of this area has been reconstructed, starting with remains of Roman dwellings found, arriving at ruins of the cathedral of Santa Reparata. To the left of the nave there is a staircase, which leads directly to the tomb of Filippo Brunelleschi, architect of the dome.
2 - Brunelleschi's Dome: curiosities and historical notes
Consisting of two connected domes, the works for the construction of the Dome lasted from 1418 to 1434. With a diameter of 45,5 meters, Brunelleschi's work has the great peculiarity of turning around without armor, thanks to the use of a double vault with cavity, of which the internal one had a structural function and the external one only of coverage. On the top of the Dome we have a cone-shaped lantern, which was built following Brunelleschi's project after his death, and thegolden copper ball with the cross, containing sacred relics. The latter is a work of Andrea del Verrocchio, and was placed there in 1466. The decorations of the Dome were made between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, and reproduce the Judgement, the same theme present in the baptistery. The best way to admire the dome and its frescoes is climbing its 463 steps, following the path that leads inside the structure.
3 - The Baptistery of San Giovanni: curiosities and historical notes
Among the oldest churches in all of Florence, the Baptistery of San Giovanni is located in front of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. Entirely covered in white and green marble, the Baptistery is covered by a dome, masked on the outside by a flattened pyramid roof. The monument, as we see it today, is the result of the extension of a primitive Baptistery, dating back to the IV-V century, hence the numerous ancient inscriptions present. Then, in the th century, the interior decoration began, with the interventions of artists such as Jacopo Torriti and, perhaps, Cimabue and Coppo di Marcovaldo. Entering the building, the mosaic of the dome is the first thing that captures the attention. Dominated by the figure of Christ the judge, this was one of the greatest works in the world for the time
4 - Giotto's Bell Tower: curiosities and historical notes
84.70 meters high and about 15 meters wide, Giotto's bell tower is covered with white, red and green marble like those that adorn the Cathedral. Created more as a decorative element than a functional element, the bell tower was started by Giotto in 1334 and, on his death, the work was continued by Andrea Pisano, who finished the first two floors respecting the Giotto project: the bell tower was then embellished with the external decoration , thanks to the intervention of Alberto Arnoldi. Within the orderly decorations, the artist wanted to express the concept of universal ordering and of the history of the Redemption. The reliefs begin with the Creation of man, and follow one another with the Planets that regulate the course of his existence, the Virtues that strengthen him, the Liberal Arts that instruct him and the Sacraments that sanctify him.
5 - The Crypt of Santa Reparata: curiosities and historical notes
The remains of the Basilica of Santa Reparata were brought to light during excavations between 1965 and 1973. Located about two and a half meters below the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the basilica was also used as a place for meetings of the Parliament of the Republic before the construction of Palazzo Vecchio. The various studies carried out have made it possible to reconstruct the probable appearance of the basilica of Santa Reparata, which must have had a three-nave plan, with colonnades that delimited the central one and an enclosure of barriers that separated the apsidal choir and the worship area from the area. public of the church, with an extension in the central corridor for the distribution of communion. Its construction seems to be due to a vote, made to thank for the Christian victory in about 405, over Radagasius, king of the Goths.
6 - Museo dell'Opera del Duomo: curiosities and historical notes
The Duomo Museum boasts 6.000 square meters of surface area divided into 28 rooms and divided over three floors. Inside these are preserved the greatest concentration of Florentine monumental sculpture, consisting of masterpieces that, originally, were created for the exterior of the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto's bell tower: from here the name of "Grande Museo del Duomo" which, among the many priceless works, also houses the famous David di Donatello.
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early: the Duomo of Florence is always very crowded therefore, in order to avoid wasting a lot of time in the queue, it is good to anticipate, being near the ticket office at least half an hour before opening time.
- Priority ticket: buy the ticket with priority entrance to avoid the endless queues
Skip the Line: Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi Tour - Florence Cathedral: no queues guided tour of the Dome
- Minimum time: we advise you to consider a minimum of 5 hours for the visit. The ideal would be to be able to dedicate at least half a day
- Climbing the Dome and the Bell Tower is not recommended to people suffering from heart, dizziness, claustrophobia and with motor problems.
- In the Cathedral, in the Crypt and in the Baptistery access with bare legs and shoulders, sandals, hats and sunglasses is not allowed.
As previously mentioned, the Duomo is a set of monuments in its own right, with the exception of the crypt, which have a series of independent entrances:
- For the Crypt, the entrance and inside the Cathedral, the central nave
- Access to the Baptistery of San Giovanni is from the North Gate
- For Brunelleschi's Dome instead, the entrance is from the Porta della Mandorla del Duomo (north side)
- Access to the Cathedral is from the right door of the façade while, access for the disabled, from the Porta dei Canonici (south side)
We remind you that there is no lift for both the dome and the bell tower. The route has 463 steps in the first case and 414 in the other: it is therefore not recommended to bring children, animals, and especially bulky luggage or bags with you.