The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is an entire chapter of the city. Entrance to the temple’s main body might be free, but for the other parts, such as the dome, the bell tower, the crypt, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Opera Duomo Museum, there is a –standard- fee. The Duomo Square features the forenamed monuments and it is flooded with thousands of people throughout the whole day.
Cupola del Brunelleschi (Dome)
Brunelleschi’s architectural masterpiece is in almost every photograph of Florence and it is another one of the city’s hallmarks. Until today, it is the largest dome, made of bricks and mortar, in the world and the third largest in size (among religious spaces). Both its architecture and structural form leave no-one unimpressed, although we would not say the same for the ascent to the top, which is achieved via 463 narrow steps. Nevertheless, the view from the top is overwhelming! (Booking is required at least 2 days before the visit.).
Open: Monday-Friday 08:30-19:00, Saturday 08:30-17:00 & Sunday 13:00-16:00
Florence looks like a well-written fairytale, completed in the best possible way by the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The temple is the most important religious monument in Florence and one of the most significant worldwide. Its interior adornment is simple and uninteresting, while its exterior beauty captures the visitor from the very first sight. For the temple’s main body entrance is Free, and there is a fee for the crypt and its famous dome.
Open: Monday-Saturday 10:00-17:00 & Sunday 13:30-16:30
Baptistery of San Giovanni
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the oldest churches in the city. It is located in front of the Duomo and stands out due to its octagonal shape and stately marble architecture. But what draws all eyes –and flashes- is the door on the east side, created by Ghiberti, which Michelangelo labeled as “The Gates of Paradise” (the real ones are exhibited at the Opera Duomo Museum). Make sure you are there on the opening, otherwise the large crowds will not let you enjoy it.
Open: Monday-Friday 08:15-10:15 / 11:15-19:30, Saturday: 08:15-18:30, Sunday: 08:15-13:30
Giotto’s Bell Tower
This is probably the most beautiful bell tower in Italy. Giotto’s 85m tall masterpiece was designed more for decorative and not practical purposes, and there is a great emphasis on the exterior, with the dozens of reliefs that decorate its façade. But you should know that the 414 narrow, claustrophobic steps that you have to climb are not easy business. Nonetheless, at the top awaits a wonderful view of the city.
Open: Every day 08:15-19:00
The crypt is in the temple’s basement and holds parts of the old temple, on top of which Santa Maria del Fiore was built.
Open: Every day 10:00-17:00
Opera Duomo Museum
The modern Opera Duomo museum merges perfectly with the classical showpieces and together they offer one –immeasurably- pleasant experience. Inside you have the chance to see the way that the Duomo was built, as well as important works of art from the Renaissance. The greatest of them are Battistero’s original doors! You can look at them for hours…nobody will blame you!
Open: Every day 09:00-19:30, except the first Tuesday of every month.
Extra Tip: Visit them in the following order so that you avoid any hardship. 1) Baptistery of San Giovanni (08:15) 2) Giotto’s Bell Tower (09:00) 3) Opera Duomo Museum (10:30) 4) Cathedral (11:30) 5) Cupola del Brunelleschi (12:30, it requires booking so there is always the same number of people no matter when you visit it).
Suggested visit time: 6-7 hours
Open: See above
Cost: 15€ (combo ticket), Free with the Firenze Card. Notice: in order to go up the Dome you must have made reservation via the official website at least 5 days prior to your visit.
The know it all says: It took almost 140 years for the cathedral to be completed!