Things to do in Florence Cathedral
Standing tall amid the iconic city skyline is the majestic Florence Cathedral (officially known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) and its red-tiled cupola. A symbol of this glorious city and marked by its Gothic beauty, no trip to Florence is complete without entering its hallowed bronze doors.
A hundred and fifty years in the making, it was Arnolfo di Cambio who first started working on it in 1296. Its lofty dome was added much later in 1436 by Filippo Brunelleschi. His revolutionary design, which incorporates a second inner dome and interlocking brickwork to reduce the structure's enormous weight, was celebrated as a feat of engineering. Brunelleschi’s dome remains the largest ever constructed in brick.
In the 19th century the cathedral received its now familiar elaborate Gothic facade in pink, white and green polychrome marble. Designed by architect Emilio de Fabris, it replaced the incomplete original, which was torn down in the 16th century. In constrast the cathedral’s interior is surprisingly stark, as most of its art works have been moved to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. That said you can still admire impressive frescoes, up to 44 stained-glass windows and the excavated remains of the basilica of Santa Reparata that lie beneath the cathedral.
The cathedral complex is completed by the Baptistry of San Giovanni, with its striking golden door (the aptly named Gates of Paradise) and shimmering ceiling mosaic, along with Giotto’s graceful campanile. Climb the latter for sweeping panoramic views from its terrace. You can also admire masterpieces by Michelangelo, Arnolfo, Ghiberti, Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Antonio Pollaiolo, and Verrocchio at the nearby Museo dell’Opera.
Baptistry 8.15am-10.15am & 11.15am-7.30pm
Bell Tower 8.15am-7.20pm
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Reviews Florence Cathedral
“Les lieux sont magnifiques, très bien préservés, beaucoup d'informations très pertinentes grâce à l'audioguide. Le sens de circulation dans la crypte mériterait d'être plus explicite.Excellente expérience.”
“Die Dame und der Herr im Büro von "musement" in Florenz haben sich sehr nett um uns gekümmert.Als Draufgabe hat uns der Herr (ich weiß leider seinen Namen nicht) noch super Tips für zusätzliche Ausflüge und Stadttouren gegeben.Vielen Dank dafür - es war wundervoll!”