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“The Most Beautiful Building in Florence - Inside and Out” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Duomo - Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Duomo - Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Via della Canonica, 1 | Piazza del Duomo, 50122, Florence, Italy (Duomo)
+39 055 2302885
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Small-Group Florence Opera del Duomo Museum Tour
Ranked #2 of 388 things to do in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century, the Cathedral's trademark dome is now the symbol of Florence.
London, UK
Level Contributor
163 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 373 helpful votes
“The Most Beautiful Building in Florence - Inside and Out”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

The 'Duomo' (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) is my '3rd place' attraction in Florence.

From the outside it is a stunning building and easily the most beautiful in Florence (not that there is much competition !) along with having a similarly attractive interior. This review is for the Duomo in general - I review my climb up the bell tower of Duomo separately.

I am compiling an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my recent 6 full-day visit to see the sights of Florence. Please fell free to access it via my TA Profile - I hope it is of interest and use to you and I hope all of my individual reviews/photos get posted properly as I know from past experience that the Trip Advisor submission process sometimes, incorrectly, 'blocks' them despite me being a so-called 'Senior Contributor'.....

Also, video submissions are not linked to a review and are not identified to a member when you look at them on the specific webpage. The best way to look at videos of mine that I mention is going via my TA profile then clicking the 'Videos' link.

Just before covering my personal views of the Cathedral, please note that as official information sources can change and the Internet links at the top of each attraction webpage on Trip Advisor can be wrong (or even absent !) I deal with visitor information/ticketing etc in the dedicated section for the attraction in my TA Trip List. This is because I have sole-control over that, can add Internet links and can edit/update it with ease to reflect changes (reviews cannot be amended after they're posted). It might also contain photos/video links if they fail to get posted with this review or on this webpage....

Unfortunately, you cannot really get a really decent view of the outside of Duomo to do it full justice as it is centrally located in the 'compressed' part of the city - the cathedral baptistery especially gets in the way to properly capture the magnificent frontage as you can't get far enough back when directly in front of it. The beautiful front view is enhanced by the accompanying bell tower which I think is actually the best looking part of Duomo.

Along with looking, it is worth having around the front to catch a bell-ringing 'session' fro the bell tower, which I managed to video and will hopefully get posted OK on this webpage. The reverberations of the chimes is especially enjoyable due to the close-proximity of surrounding buildings for once being beneficial ! however, I remain confused about when the ringing can be heard - it doesn't seem to follow accepted convention.

The video clip I've added was the last 2mins of a lengthy peeling at 1145, but at 1200 there was nothing - then 2 days later at 1200 there WAS a good peeling session, but it was quite short; answers on a postcard please !

The cathedral rightly gets a lot of restorative attention, so some views might be spilt a bit by scaffolding; however, it also means the largely slightly off-white finish and decorative work on the facades gleam and sparkle magnificently - it really is a joy to behold....

I've also added a selection of my photos to this review.

Moving to the inside (it's free and you can take photos !), the experience is dominated by looking upwards into the interior artwork on the dome, there are other things but that is the dominant feature. Other elements of the cathedral can be visited, but they are all 'extras' which cost (there is a combined ticket you can get for some of them) - they are the baptistery, bell tower and of the dome itself (of course !).

I found the memorabilia shops by the crypt and in the base of the bell tower to have some interesting items for sale - most notably a good selection of large, high-quality, prints of various Duomo features.

Most visitors to Florence will be drawn to looking at Duomo without reading a review, so all I have to do is confirm it is an enjoyable visit and the views inside and out are just as good as you expect - do remember to try and catch the bells ringing !

Visited February 2012
Thank LPWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Orange County, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Go to the top”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

You'll see all of Florence and get a feel for what Brunelleschi accomplished. Another Florence genius.

Visited March 2012
Thank EllenG789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great attraction-especially taking a tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

This Duomo was so neat to visit but the lines can be long! Based on Rick Steve's reccomendation, we took a tour while visiting the Duomo. This allows you to go to sites that you cannot get to with just visitng the Duomo and I felt they were worth it. It also allows you to bypass the lines, a major plus!

Visited May 2011
1 Thank Teela H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Worth the climb”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

We paid to climb to the top of the dome. Please note, wear decent shoes, not flip flops, and I would advise ladies not to wear skirts!

The view from the top is incredible and worth the spiral staircase. It does feel a bit claustrophobic inside going up the staircase, so beware if you have a problem with this.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank moonlondon1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“One of my Favourite places in Florence”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

It is truly magical. The entire building made out of polychromatic marble, with Brunellischi's Duomo and the bronze reliefs on the door of the baptistery, executed by Brunellischi and Ghiberti. Its very interesting to see these.

Visited March 2012
2 Thank sparkyel08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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