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Florence Cathedral

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo, 11, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Visit Florence Cathedral in Tuscany during the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and witness the golden hue of the setting sun as it illuminates the marble façade; it's a magical sight rarely enjoyed by the morning tour groups. Also, locals know that the side door on Via dell Studio often has a shorter queue than the main entrance, so try your luck there for quicker access."

What is Florence Cathedral?

Florence Cathedral, officially known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is a monumental masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture that dominates the city's skyline. This magnificent cathedral is renowned not just for its remarkable size but also for its exquisite dome, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, which still remains a marvel of construction. Its beautiful façade, made from polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink, bordered by white, has become an iconic symbol of Florence.

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The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence. For many visitors, a trip to Florence isn't complete without exploring the artistic and architectural wonders of this revered site.

History of Florence Cathedral

The history of Florence Cathedral begins in the 13th century, when the new cathedral's construction was proposed to reflect Florence's growing importance. The original structure was begun in 1296 and was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of his time.
The cathedral was built on the site of the previous cathedral dedicated to Saint Reparata, remnants of which can still be seen in the crypt.
After Arnolfo's death, work on the cathedral slowed and was later continued by various architects over the following century.

It wasn't until the early 15th century when Filippo Brunelleschi was awarded the task of constructing the cathedral's dome. His innovative techniques in architecture and engineering not only crowned the cathedral but also revolutionized the way domes were built in the future.
The dome, completed in 1436, was the largest in the world at that time and marked the cathedral's completion. The façade, however, remained unfinished until the 19th century when it was completed in a Gothic Revival style, designed by Emilio De Fabris.

Why is Florence Cathedral Important?

Florence Cathedral is important for a variety of reasons that go beyond its physical presence. It is a testament to Florence's power and wealth during the Renaissance, often considered the cradle of this influential cultural movement. The cathedral has witnessed pivotal events in history and has served as a symbol of hope and resilience for Florentines over the centuries.

The cathedral's dome, in particular, is a landmark of architectural innovation. It was the first of its kind to be built without a wooden supporting frame and remains a study subject for architects and engineers today. Alongside its architectural wonders, the cathedral houses a bounty of art, including frescoes by Vasari and stained glass windows, serving as a canvas of historical artistry.

Things to Do & See at Florence Cathedral

There is no shortage of things to do and see at Florence Cathedral. You can climb the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi's dome, where you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Florence; a must-do for any visitor willing to brave the ascent. The interior of the dome itself is painted with a vivid fresco of the Last Judgment, a masterpiece that can be admired from the inside.

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Adjacent to the cathedral, Giotto's Campanile offers another challenging yet rewarding climb, offering a different perspective on the cathedral and the city.
Don't forget to step into the Baptistery, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city, renowned for its magnificent bronze doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti, dubbed the "Gates of Paradise".

Inside the cathedral, you can find numerous artworks and the crypt containing the relics of Saint Zenobius, Florence's patron saint.
While most visitors focus on the landmarks above ground, the subterranean areas offer a glimpse into the layers of history upon which the current structure stands, so consider taking a guided tour to explore these hidden treasures.

Frequently asked questions

What is the historical significance of the Florence Cathedral?

The Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is historically significant as it represents the pinnacle of Italian Gothic architecture. It is particularly renowned for its massive dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, which was a marvel of its time and an inspiration for future architectural works.

Can visitors climb to the top of Florence Cathedral's dome?

Yes, visitors can climb to the top of the dome. It offers a unique experience to see the interior of the dome up close and enjoy panoramic views of Florence. There is a ticket required, and it involves climbing approximately 463 steps as there is no elevator.

Are there any famous artworks housed within the Florence Cathedral?

The Florence Cathedral houses numerous famous artworks, including frescoes by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, and sculptures by Donatello and Nanni di Banco. The most notable is the Last Judgment fresco inside the dome.

Is there an admission fee to enter the Florence Cathedral?

Entrance to the main body of the cathedral is usually free. However, there may be an admission fee for accessing separate parts of the complex, such as climbing the dome, visiting the baptistery, and the Campanile.

What is the best time to visit the Florence Cathedral to avoid crowds?

The best time to visit the Florence Cathedral to avoid crowds is typically early in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially outside of the peak tourist season, which is from late spring to early fall. It's also less crowded on weekdays than on weekends.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo, 11, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps