Exploring Florence’s Duomo

florence's duomo

Last week I shared an overview glimpse at our time in Florence. This week I want to break it down a bit. Florence has many incredible things to see, but the main tourist draw is its Duomo. It’s breathtaking and a must-stop for tourists.

Florence’s Duomo: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • It took nearly 150 years to complete (1200s to 1400s).
  • Originally built to display the wealth and power of the city.
  • It’s considered the third largest church in the world
  • The Duomo is not just one building, but rather a series of six things to see:
    • Cathedral
    • Dome (Cupola)
    • Baptistry
    • Bell Tower
    • Crypt
    • Museum
  • Each part of the Duomo opens and closes at different times, so check this website to know for sure.

florence's duomo

Since we were only in Florence for three days and dealt with a time crunch, we didn’t get to see the Bell Tower. Everything else was incredible!

We bought a combo ticket through this website and saw everything for 15€, a deal I highly recommend. We even got to schedule a time for the dome, so we didn’t have to wait in the ridiculously long line. Thank goodness we did. Not only was the line over an hour long, but it was also pouring rain. We would have been drenched to the bone and agitated from waiting.

Museum – 10AM

florence's duomo

I was expecting an okay museum, but this place is gorgeous and far surpassed my expectations. It’s a modern museum with old art. So the walls and lighting are perfect for taking in the beauty of the ancient art. We absolutely loved this place.

Cathedral – 11AM

florence's duomo

The cathedral itself is free to go into. We felt the outside was way more impressive than the inside. We didn’t spend very long looking around. The paintings on the inside of the dome were gorgeous, however.

Crypt – 11:15AM

florence's duomo

Downstairs in the cathedral is the crypt. It was interesting, but I would not have paid the full-price fee if we hadn’t bought the Duomo package. You will see the findings of a massive archeological dig, including ancient gravestones.

Baptistry – 11:45

florence's duomo

Simply gorgeous. This octagonal baptistry may be small, but the mosaic work is insane. Not only is the mosaic itself amazing, it’s attached to the Dome, which means these little pieces are working against gravity. Kyle and I sat on the pews for a few minutes just to take it all in.

Cappuccino Break – 12:00

florence's duomo

Right before our big climb, we decided to rest our feet and get a little coffee. The coffee shop right across the street was ridiculously overpriced, but delicious (6€ decaf cappuccino for me – it’s 1€ right by our apartment in Rome).

Dome (Cupola) 12:30

florence's duomo

I had read that the dome (cupola to the Italians) climb is steep and narrow and not great for people with claustrophobia. Nobody is lying about this at all! This thing is intense.

463 narrow steps take you all the way up to the top of the Duomo. People literally will have to stop and squeeze to let people going the other direction pass by. We loved it, but we could see how it would not be everyone’s cup of tea. The view from the top was absolutely lovely.

florence's duomoPlease ignore the rain-matted hair!

florence's duomo

8 thoughts on “Exploring Florence’s Duomo

  • June 15, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    I think I’d need a glass or two of that great Italian wine before I attempted those narrow steps to the dome! But the view looks worth pushing through fear of closed in spaces! :-)

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    • June 24, 2016 at 8:50 am
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      They were so intense! But WELL worth it.

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  • June 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    Thanks for the links to the combo ticket sites! I’ll keep those in mind for the eventual trip I hope I’ll get to take to Italy in the next few years!

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  • June 21, 2016 at 5:51 pm
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    What a wonderful description of a wonderful place. No tiny places tho. What History.

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    • June 24, 2016 at 8:47 am
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      Exactly – “What history!” :)

      Reply
  • July 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm
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    This is my favorite building that I saw on my trip to Italy. I loved Florence’s cobblestone narrow streets, and the bells that would ring out from the belltower all day long. Such a gorgeous piece of history!

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    • July 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm
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      Isn’t it just incredible? It was definitely my favorite building from the outside too!

      Reply

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