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Florence Cathedral

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Florence Cathedral (known as the Duomo di Firenze or Santa Maria del Fiore) was built in 1296 in the Gothic style and is one of Italy’s largest churches. Its dome was built in the 15th Century by Brunelleschi and is still the largest brick dome in the world, and is a marvel of classical architecture. There are six parts to the Duomo complex, and tickets include entry to the cathedral, the dome, the baptistry, the bell tower, the crypt, and the cathedral museum.
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Florence: Tour with Accademia and Optional Duomo Visit
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Florence: 1-Hour Cupola Entry and Guided Tour
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Florence: Dome Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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Florence: Duomo Small Group Tour with Dome Climb
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4 Tips for Visiting the Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral
1
Book OnlineBuy your tickets online! The ticket lines for the Duomo complex can be extremely long, especially in the afternoon, so go first thing in the morning or save yourself the trouble of queuing and book tickets online in advance.
Florence Cathedral Facade
2
Arrive On TimeIf you’re planning to climb the Dome then make sure to double-check the timeslot you’ve booked for that part of your visit! All the other areas can be visited flexibly during the day, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to climb the Dome if you’re late for your slot.
3
Get a View from the CampanileIf you don’t want to climb the dome, then consider climbing the Campanile for a great view of Florence. The ticket for Giotto’s Bell Tower is included in the entrance to the complex and, unlike the Dome, you don’t need to book a timeslot for entry. However, you may have to wait in line during the busiest parts of the year.
4
Watch Out for the Dress CodeThe cathedral and the Baptistery are religious buildings and there is a dress code for visitors. Please ensure that your shoulders are covered and that skirts and shorts should reach below the knee. Large backpacks and bulky items should also be left at the cloakroom before entering the cathedral.
Santa Maria Del Fiore

Florence Cathedral: Ticket and Tour Options

In addition to skip-the-line tickets, the Cathedral also offers visitors the chance to take an official guided tour.

Tickets

Entry to the cathedral building is free but you’ll need to book a fixed timeslot to climb Brunelleschi’s dome. Tickets are available to buy on-site for €18 and include entry to the dome, baptistry, crypt, and museum. A booking fee of €2 is added to tickets bought on the official website.

Guided Tours

Official guided tours cover the baptistery and the cathedral, and they allow you to access the dome without having to wait in line. Your expert guide will fill you in on the cultural and historical importance of all the areas of the complex, which is sure to add to the experience. Guided tours are available in Italian or English, with French, German, and Spanish available on request. You can also download a free app for Android or iOS devices ahead of your visit to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo so that you can access multimedia content related to the exhibits.
The Cupola of the Duomo

Duomo di Firenze: A Complex of Architectural Highlights

The Gothic Duomo of Florence is one of the city’s star attractions, and it’s located at the very heart of the town. The cathedral is one of the largest and most impressive churches in Italy, and Brunelleschi’s Dome is the largest brick dome in the world.
The View from the Top

The Dome

The dome of the cathedral has a diameter of 147 feet (45m) and is an impressive 351 feet (107m) high. The architect had to design special machinery, including cranes and hoists, in order to complete his vision. The interior of the dome is decorated with an elaborate fresco by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, which was restored in 1994. In order to reach the dome, you’ll need to climb 463 steps in a narrow staircase, but you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view from the top.
The Inside of the Dome

Inside the Duomo

Construction began in 1296 but the work on the structure was only finished in 1436 with the completion of the Dome, and the final touches were only added to the outside in 1887, nearly 600 years after the first stone was laid. The interior of the cathedral is lavishly decorated with frescoes and the largest stained glass windows created in Italy during this timeframe, including one designed by Donatello. The cathedral is the last resting place of two popes: Pope Nicholas II and Stephen IX, and you can visit both of their tombs.

Campanile di Giotto

The bell tower was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio and Giotto di Bondone has 414 steps, that take visitors 269 feet (82m) up to the top. Once you’ve made the climb, you’ll be treated to an incredible view of Florence, plus you’ll be close to the colorful marble statues and reliefs that decorate the tower’s façade.

The Baptistery

The Baptistry of San Giovanni was built in several phases, with medieval Florentines believing that it was a Roman (pagan) temple that had been converted into a church. The present Baptistery was extended from the original building, which was built in the 4th or 5th Century and was decorated with mosaics in the 13th Century. The Baptistery’s purpose was to baptize infants and converts, as only baptized Christians could enter the Cathedral. The modern church no longer applies this restriction, but you’ll notice that many churches still keep their fonts at the entrance so that baptisms can be performed as soon as the soon-to-be-baptized person crosses the threshold, and in Italy, some larger churches and cathedrals still have these separate buildings for their fonts.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

In this museum, which can be found behind the main cathedral building, you can find several exhibits from the church’s long history. Highlights include a replica of the original façade which was demolished in 1587, Michelangelo’s unfinished Pietà, and Donatello’s wooden sculpture of penitent Mary Magdalene.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a visit to the cathedral take?

It depends on which areas of the cathedral complex you’re interested in seeing. During the peak tourist season, it’s likely that you’ll have to join lines to enter the cathedral, the Dome, the Baptistery, and the campanile, and that will add to the total time you’ll spend on the site. If you want to see absolutely everything, then aim to spend at least three to four hours at the site. If you’re only interested in the cathedral, then you can expect to spend an hour or less, depending on the lines to get in. Read more.

Should I book tickets in advance?

If you want to avoid the lines at the ticket office, then buying tickets online is highly recommended. In the high season, the lines for tickets on the day can be extremely long and skip-the-line tickets can be bought from several trustworthy providers as well as the official website. Read more.

Is there an elevator to the top of the Dome?

There is no elevator that can take you to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome, so it is unfortunately not accessible to visitors in wheelchairs or with mobility problems. The climb is also not recommended for visitors with heart conditions, or those who suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo. There are 463 stairs to the top, and while the view is magnificent, it’s worth considering whether you’re prepared to take on the strain. You’ll also get to see the frescoes on the inside of the dome during your climb, and you’re sure to enjoy seeing Vasari’s The Last Judgement up close. Giotto’s Bell Tower is an alternative option to the Dome, but the tower is also only accessible via stairs - there are still 414 of them, not many less than the Dome, and the same restrictions apply. Read more.

Can we go to church services in the cathedral?

Yes, services at the cathedral are open to all. On weekdays, masses are said at 7.30 am, 8.30 am, 9.30 am, and 6 pm, and additionally at 10.30 am in the Baptistery. On Sundays and holy days of obligation, mass is said at 7.30 am, 9 am, 10.30 am (in Gregorian chant), 12 noon, and at 6 pm (with organ accompaniment). On Saturdays, there is a mass in English at 5 pm, and an evening mass at 6 pm. It’s also possible to attend confession every day from 9 am to 12 noon and from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The different areas of Florence Cathedral have different opening hours which vary throughout the year. In general, the cathedral and crypt are open from 10 am, the baptistry and bell tower are open from 8.15 am, the dome is open from 8.30 am, and the museum is open from 9 am. The museum, bell tower, dome, and baptistry generally also close later than the cathedral. The cathedral may be closed for services and special events throughout the year, the crypt is closed every Sunday, and the museum is closed on the first Tuesday of every month. During the high tourist season, entry to the Dome may be restricted for reasons of safety and security.

Address:

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Piazza del Duomo
50122 Florence FI
Italy

Tickets:

Tickets to access all the sections of the Florence Cathedral complex cost €18 or a reduced price of €3 for children aged between 3 and 11. Entry to the cathedral alone is free of charge. Entrance to St. John’s Baptistry is free for residents of Florence and the surrounding region. Free entry to the entire complex applies to children under the age of 6, official Florence tour guides, and disabled visitors. Tickets are valid for 72 hours from the first entry, and visitors must arrive on time for their timeslot to climb the dome as this cannot be rescheduled.

How to get there:

Florence Cathedral is located in the center of the city and is a short walk from several of Florence’s most popular tourist sites. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to walk to the cathedral from Santa Maria Novella Station, the main train station in Florence. Bus numbers 6, 11, C1, and C2 also stop a short distance away from the Duomo complex. Due to traffic limitations in the center of the city, it’s not recommended that visitors drive to the cathedral.
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