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“A work of art outside and inside - fabulous”

Duomo - Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
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Skip the Line: Small-Group Florence Duomo Tour...
Ranked #4 of 661 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.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

I love the Duomo from top to bottom (almost); it is such a stupendous landmark in modern architecture and art. It is a breath-taking achievement casting a long and beautiful shadow over our collective art and cultural histories, and especially our legacies of architecture as much as it does over the city of Florence itself.

Starting at the top the dome as to be seen close up. This requires commitment and stamina. The climb up to the top needs a degree of physical and mental fitness. Do not attempt it if you are prone to claustrophobia or vertigo. Before you go up buy the guide book for the Duomo and read a little bout the dome of Filippo Brunelleschi the scientist, mathematician, engineer and artist who made it happen. Alternatively read the excellent short King Penguin book by Ross King: Brunelleschi's Dome.
King is a Renaissance expert and his book is rich in how Brunelleschi did it and it’s a truly breathtaking achievement: the work organisation, the engineering, the execution, the result. You can also pick up an excellent scholarly monograph (got it somewhere but not just to hand) on the creation of the Duomo’s dome in the many museums around Florence.

Inside the cathedral there is a collection of art to weep over. There is the stunning false statute to the English mercenary Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello. Hawkwood was highly successful at staying alive and of being a winner. In those days mercenaries were very successful in fighting and mainly not getting killed. In death Hawkwood as a favoured adopted son of the Florentines was short changed out a bronze statue for a fresco; the almost sepia monochrome fresco does resemble a bronze and is stunning.

Frescos and sculptures abound and include works by Lorenzo Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Luca della Robia, and Michelino’s celebrated fresco celebrating one of Florence’s most famous sons: Dante and his most famous work the Divine Comedy.

The sheer volume and cool beauty of the Duomo is best appreciated by sitting and meditating and looking up and around you. Contemplate the wonderful space and volume that Brunelleschi's dome gives to the visitor, pilgrim, traveller and marvel.

And now to the outside: it is not high Renaissance but late 19th century kitsch of sorts completed in the early 20th century. (For the real Renaissance church front deal, go see Alberti’s wonderful façade of Santa Maria Novella.)

Once you have been around the inside suggest that you walk around the outside to fully appreciate the size and grandeur of the Duomo and to appreciate the dominance of the cathedral on the historic centre.

One final but important note: many of the Duomo’s original and most famous works are now in the protection of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. This often neglected but excellent Museum of the Works of the Duomo is full of models and works of art that are once graced the exterior of the cathedral and its’ interior. Visit the cathedral and you must visit it.

1  Thank MickMcKigney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"bell tower"
in 976 reviews
"beautiful cathedral"
in 307 reviews
"climb the stairs"
in 111 reviews
"worth the climb"
in 283 reviews
"brunelleschi's dome"
in 116 reviews
"ticket office"
in 161 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 137 reviews
"worth the wait"
in 123 reviews
"long line"
in 124 reviews
"firenze card"
in 161 reviews
"skip the line"
in 117 reviews
in 4,010 reviews
in 1,064 reviews
in 688 reviews
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9,299 - 9,303 of 23,608 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

This is one of the main attractions in Florence for a reason. Both inside and out is breath-taking. I especially liked it at night when it was lit up. It is free to enter and take pictures no flashes please. The dome is an awesome piece of engineering. It helped prove we (man) were truly out of dark ages sori to new heights. It is one of the flowers of the Italian Renaissance and you immediately know how and why. It is open all day, seven days a week. If in Tuscany it is a must see.

Thank Paul J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

The view from the copula is a must and well worth the money. During the ascend you also get a nice view over the interior of the duomo.

Thank Tom S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Santa Maria del Fiore, Saint Mary of the Flower, located in the piazza of Santa Maria del Fiore is a magnificent masterpience of Gothic Renaissance architecture. Brunelleschi's (1436)octagonal dome being one of the highlights. The pink, white and green marble exterior being another. Giotto's campanile (1334) is adjacent with it's 414 challenging steps to the top. It is about 6 Euros for the climb. Outstanding of Florence will await you.The Saint John's Baptistery with it's "Gates of Paradise" bronze doors by Ghiberti is opposite the church and a highlight to any visit.Visiting hours are brief and there is a cost. The interior of the church is rather stark by comparison to the exterior. It does have any interesting crypt which holds the remains of many Bishops and the Master architect Brunelleschi. The cost is about 3 Euros. Often referred to as the Duomo, the Church of Florence is still an active church and masses are held in traditional Catholic style with tours available from 10:30-12 and 3-4:30. Hours may vary according to the season. A visit to the Cathedral is free but of course a guided tour is not. Part of a pedestrian walkway it is within a few walking minutes from the Church of the Holy Cross and many other sites in the Historic Area of Florence. Don't try to take a car to the area. There is no parking, the streets are narrow and road signs will having you traveling in circles endlessly. There is ample cheap public transportation in the form of buses and trains. Bring some Euros and pay with a major credit card for large items. There are a lot of nice little things you might want to purchase including "Great Gellato".

Thank duck8to
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2013

The cathedral is visually striking, and in conjunction with the Capanille and the Baptistry, completes a remarkable bookmark in the history of Florence and the Renaissance. The Duomo is an architectural masterwork and the view from it top, a challenging 463 stesp up the narrow space between its inner and out shells, are outstanding. A guide will enhance your understanding of its development and that of the Baptistry and its famous and beautiful doors.

Thank Paul K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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