Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral) and its enormous dome and tall Campanile dominate the city’s outline. Both buildings are located very near the Battistero di San Giovanni (Florence Baptistery) in the Piazza del Duomo. The Cathedral is officially called Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
The construction of the Cathedral began in 1296, over two centuries after the cathedrals of nearby cities like Pisa and Lucca were built. The temple was completed 72 years later, in 1368. The architect of the Florence Cathedral was Arnolfo di Cambio.
The dimensions of the church make it one of the largest Christian temples in the world. It is 525 ft (160 metres) long, 141 ft (43 m) wide and its transverse aisle is 300 ft (90 m) long. The dome is over 328 ft (100 m) tall.
Near the main entrance is a small descent leading to a crypt, where visitors can see the resting place of Brunelleschi, renowned Italian designer and architect who is responsible for the structure’s dome. The tomb was discovered in the mid-twentieth century.
The Cathedral Dome
Nearly a century after the Cathedral was finished, Filippo Brunelleschi was commissioned to build the temple’s dome. It stands 374 ft (114 m) tall and is 45 metres in diameter. It was the architect’s biggest challenge and took him over 14 years to complete.
The inside of the dome was decorated by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. The various scenes were painted between 1568 and 1579 and represent the Last Judgement. It is one of the most impressive paintings we have ever seen. Absolutely remarkable.
Climbing to the top of the Dome
The excitement is palpable climbing to the top of the dome. The 463 steps that separate the highest point of the dome and the bottom floor are all completely different, and you will need to be a little adventurous to climb them. The last part of the ascent is the most difficult, with extremely narrow and dark corridors.
If you want to enjoy the same breath-taking views of the city, but would rather climb something a little easier, we recommend scaling the Campanile de Giotto. The only drawback is that you won’t be able to enjoy Brunelleschi’s masterpiece, which in our opinion is a great shame.
The Cathedral’s opening hours do not coincide with the opening times of the dome. Visitors can climb the dome every day from 8:30 am until 7 pm (On Saturdays until 5:40 pm). It is closed on the bank holidays.
Note that you need to wear something that covers your shoulders to visit the Duomo. You will not be allowed in if you are wearing sleeveless t-shirts or dresses, or excessively short shorts.
The ticket entitles you to visit all monuments in the 72 hours after first use and each place can be accessed only once. You can click here and acquire the ticket in advance through the official website. It can be used within 30 days of the reserved date.
You will need to schedule the time for climbing to the top of the Cathedral and avoid the long queues that usually form, since, with the ticket you do not have to go through the box office again.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 3:30 pm (depends on the month)
Saturday: 10 am – 4:45 pm
Sunday and public holidays: 1:30 pm – 4:45 pm
Adults: 18€ (US$20)
Children (between 6 and 11): 3€ (US$3.3)
Children under 6: Free
(includes the entrance to the Cathedral, the Dome, the Baptistery, Crypt, Campanile di Giotto and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo).