The Florence Insider

Your guide to travel and experience Florence, Italy

Visiting and climbing the Duomo of Florence: tips and tricks

The cathedral of Florence (Duomo is cathedral in Italian) is one of the most famous and visited tourist attractions in the city. And there is not only the church to see: in the Piazza del Duomo there are many other ancient and important religious buildings, which all together make up the Duomo Complex . So many monuments, hundreds of works of art, 3 different tickets: to help you plan your visit to the Duomo complex, I wrote this guide for visiting the Duomo of Florence , the cathedral, Brunelleschi’s dome and all the other places included in the complex.

I am keeping this guide for visiting the Duomo of Florence constantly updated, but opening hours and prices may change at any time . So always double check on the official website .

I’m Claudia, a licensed tour guide in Florence with more than 10 years of experience, and I love my city! Learn more about my private tours in Florence and get in contact with me .

Table of Contents

Visiting the Duomo complex in Florence

The complex consists of: the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s bell tower, the climb to the dome by Brunelleschi, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the crypt of the cathedral. (Santa Reparata crypt). All those buildings are located in Piazza Duomo, the square of the Cathedral.

  • Find out the most beautiful squares in Florence

Each one of those places has different opening hours. There are 3 different tickets, that are including more or less tourist attractions of the complex. They obviously have different prices, but they all lasts 3 days.

Let’s see those places one by one…

duomo of Florence with Giotto's bell tower and the Baptistery

Visiting the Duomo of Florence (cathedral)

The Duomo of Florence is officially called Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore , and it’s one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The first architect was Arnolfo di Cambio who began to build it in 1296. The exterior of the cathedral is richly decorated with white, pink and green marble, and its dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi has dominated the whole city for about 600 years.

If the exterior of the church is magnificent, the interior is much simpler and less decorated . Many visitors are surprised by this! The Florence Cathedral has never been overdecorated on the inside like many other Italian churches, and some of the original decorations have been removed over the centuries and are now in the Opera del Duomo museum.

Visiting the inside of the cathedral of Florence is free (actually it is one of the few free things in Florence). But there is almost always a long line to enter, and there is no way to skip it. In summer, when the city is packed with tourists, the line to enter the church can last up to an hour. The best time to visit the cathedral, when the line is shorter, is as soon as it opens. Try to queue at least 10-15 minutes before opening.

Cathedral of Florence (Duomo) opening hours:

Open from 10.15 am to 4.45 pm, every day except Sundays and religious holidays.

Find the best part of Florence to stay

Climb to Brunelleschi’s Dome

The dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the early 1400s is an architectural masterpiece. Climbing to the top not only offers a magnificent view of Florence . It is also an exciting experience that allows you to better understand Brunelleschi’s brilliant architecture.

The climb to the dome is a separate tourist attraction, therefore it needs a special ticket with reservations required (which is obviously the most expensive), called Brunelleschi Pass (see below for more info about tickets). Since space on the stairs and on top of the dome is very limited, only a few people can go up at a time. When you book your ticket you will be asked to choose a time slot, and you will have to respect it.

In high season, tickets for the climb to the dome are sold out several weeks in advance. Book them as soon as possible!

To reach the top of the dome you have to climb 463 steps, and there is no elevator: take this into account before booking. The climb requires some physical effort and is not recommended for people with heart problems or those suffering from vertigo or claustrophobia .

The entrance to the dome is located on the left side of the cathedral (north side).

Cloakroom for Brunelleschi’s dome

Before climbing Brunelleschi’s dome, you must leave all your large stuff at the cloakroom , located next to the Opera del Duomo museum (it’s the door right on the left). the cloakroom is free, but it’s mandatory to leave there any kind of backpack, large umbrellas, suitcases, tripods and any other kind of large object.

Climb to the dome opening hours:

  • From Monday to Saturday is open from 8.15 am until 7.30 pm.
  • On Sundays is open from 12.45 pm until 5.15 pm.
  • On religious holidays opening times may change, or the dome might be closed.
  • In case of bad weather the dome may be closed without notice, and tickets refunded.

visiting the duomo of Florence, Italy

Baptistery of Saint John

The Baptistery dedicated to Saint John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista, patron saint of Florence) is the oldest building in piazza Duomo . It was built from the half of the 1000s until the end of the 1200s. Its architecture made of white and green marbles is in romanesque style, and the ceiling is decorated with wonderful mosaics from the 1200s, representing the Final Judgment, with hell, purgatory and paradise. The Baptistery is famous for the Gates of Paradise, the bronze doors made by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the early 1400s, but today there are replicas on the building. You can find the original bronze doors displayed in the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Baptistery of St. John opening hours:

The Baptistery is open every day from 9.00 am until 7.45 pm. It’s only closed on religious holidays.

  • Note: the mosaic ceiling of the Baptistery is currently under restoration, and not visibile.

Visiting Giotto’s bell tower

Giotto’s bell tower takes its name from the first architect who worked on it, the most important artist of the Florentine Middle Ages. Giotto was not only an architect, but also a sculptor and above all a painter. You can admire some of his paintings in the Uffizi, in the first room on the second floor. The sculptures that decorate the bell tower today are copies, the original ones are in the Opera del duomo Museum.

You can climb even on the top of the bell tower: there are 398 steps, and from there you can enjoy a stunning view of Florence and Brunelleschi’s dome. The climb to the bell tower can be a smart alternative to the climb to the dome: it’s cheaper and there is greater availability of tickets. So if you can’t find a ticket for the dome, the bell tower can be your backup plan.

Opening hours of Giotto’s bell tower

The climb to the bell tower is open every day (except for religious holidays) from 8.15 am to 7.45 pm.

view of Brunelleschi's dome seen from the bell tower

Crypt of Santa Reparata

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which you can admire today, was built starting in 1296 on top of the oldest (and much smaller) cathedral of Santa Reparata. The old church of Santa Reparata dates back to the early Christian era. It was founded in 405 AD. and rebuilt several times. It was rediscovered only in 1965 thanks to archaeological excavations under the floor of the Cathedral . In addition to the ruins of the ancient church, in the crypt of the cathedral you can also see the remains of some houses from the Roman era.

The entrance to the crypt is separated from the main entrance to the cathedral, and is located on the right side of the church (south side).

The opening hours of the crypt are the same as those of the cathedral.

Opera del Duomo Museum

It is one of the richest museums of works of art in Florence and one of my favorites . The Opera del Duomo museum houses the sculptures, decorations and precious objects that over time have been removed from the buildings of the Duomo complex. For example, there are statues of Donatello and Michelangelo, the original Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti together with the other two bronze doors of the Baptistery. Then the original sculptures of the bell tower by Giotto… And dozens of Renaissance masterpieces, works by Luca della Robbia and many others.

The Opera del duomo museum is very underrated, and not many people visit it, but I recommend you not to miss it!

  • Check out my private tour of the Opera del Duomo Museum .

Opening hours:

The museum is open every day except for religious holidays from 9.00 am to 7.45 pm.

visiting the opera del duomo museum in Florence, Italy

Tickets for visiting the Duomo of Florence complex

Since the Duomo complex is made up of different tourist attractions, there are 3 types of tickets, which allow entry to different monuments. All 3 tickets last 3 days, so you have time to visit all the places included in the pass.

I recommend that you buy tickets directly on the official website of the Opera del Duomo to pay for them as little as possible. Every other website is a re-seller and increases the price by a few euros.

However, as tickets for the dome climb sell out well in advance, re-sellers like Viator or GetYourGuide are a good option when tickets are sold out on the official website.

  • Tickets for the Florence Dome on Viator
  • Tickets for the dome of Florence on GetYourGuide

Here are the three types of tickets for the Florence Duomo complex:

Brunelleschi pass

The Brunelleschi pass is the most complete ticket and the only one that includes the climb to the dome . It costs 30 euros, and lasts 3 days from the moment you enter the dome. The Brunelleschi Pass includes all the monuments of the complex, namely:

  • The climb to Brunelleschi’s dome
  • The climb to Giotto’s bell tower
  • The entrance to the Baptistery of Saint John
  • The entrance to the crypt
  • The entrance to the Opera del Duomo museum

The climb to the dome must necessarily be done before all other visits included in the pass.

Ghiberti Pass

The Ghiberti pass costs 20 euros and lasts 3 days. It’s including all the monuments of the complex except the climb to the dome. What is included:

  • The entrance to the Baptistery of St. John

Giotto Pass

The simplest and cheapest ticket in the complex. The Giotto pass costs 10 euros, it also lasts 3 days and includes:

detail of the top of the dome of the cathedral

Dress code for visiting the Duomo of Florence

The Cathedral, as well as the Baptistery, the crypt, the dome and the bell tower, are sacred places still in use for religious services . Therefore, in almost all places in the Duomo complex, the dress code of Catholic churches is required , which involves covering shoulders and knees. So no tank tops, miniskirts and shorts, not even for men.

The only building in the complex where a dress code is not required is the Opera del Duomo museum.

Special tours of the terraces of the Duomo

If you want to have a truly special and exclusive experience , book a tour of the terraces of the Duomo. You will be able to see the decorations of the cathedral up close and enjoy a magnificent view of the city. This tour is not regularly sold on the Opera del Duomo website, it is only sold by some companies (and I don’t personally give this tour). I recommend you to book it on Viator:

  • Tour of the terraces of the Duomo

I hope I have been helpful in planning your trip and visiting the Duomo of Florence. If you have any other tips to add to mine leave me a comment below. If you have any questions or requests relating to my tours and my work as a tour guide in Florence, do not hesitate to contact me.

  • guided tours in Florence
  • What to do in Florence and Tuscany

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close up view of florence duomo and baptistery, tips for visiting florence cathedral santa maria del fiore

Visiting the Duomo in Florence: Complete Guide + Tips!

Magnificient, multi-colored, and imposing, the dramatic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore deserves its status as one of the most iconic buildings in Italy–but in order to get the most out of visiting the Duomo in Florence, you’ll need to do more than simply step inside!

Thanks to the many things to do there, visiting Florence’s Duomo (in English, cathedral) can be an all-day or even multi-day affair.

In fact, when visiting Florence, you’ll notice that the area surrounding the cathedral is referred to as the Duomo Complex, thanks to its numerous sightseeing points.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve visited the Duomo at this point–if you count strolling around the outside, it’s definitely over 50–and continue to be fascinated by this extraordinary building.

Whether you have one day in Florence or several, here’s how to make the most of your time at the Duomo Complex!

Table of Contents

A (Very) Brief History of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Do you need a tour to visit florence’s duomo, the best things to do at the duomo complex in florence, essential tips for visiting the duomo in florence, italy.

kate storm and jeremy storm visit the duomo florence italy

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In 1296, ground broke on the new Gothic-style cathedral that was to be built in the center of Florence… and in 1436, a whopping 140 years later, it was consecrated and considered complete.

Today, the famous Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is considered one of the defining pieces of Renaissance architecture–because, as it turns out, styles can change in almost a century and a half.

But that is far from the full story!

close up picture of a mosaic on florence cathedral

When ground broke on the cathedral, no one actually knew how to complete a dome as large as the Duomo’s, especially without using the flying buttresses that were so iconic to Gothic architecture (see Milan’s Duomo for a great example).

The cathedral stood, incomplete and without a dome, for more than 100 years before a contest was held in 1418 to allow architects to compete for the chance to complete it.

Filippo Brunelleschi won and pulled off an engineering marvel (I highly recommend the book Brunelleschi’s Dome if you’re interested in the full story–it’s compelling!).

While the cathedral was considered complete in 1436 as it was consecrated ground past that point, it took until the 19th century for every last piece of the intricate marble exterior (with marble sourced from Carrara, Prato, and more) to be finished.

view of florence cathedral on a sunny day

A tour isn’t required to visit the Duomo in Florence, but if you want historical context and/or to climb to the top of the cupola, it definitely helps!

This popular tour is a great way to gain context for your visit to the Duomo and includes access to all of the Duomo Complex sites.

If you’d prefer a longer tour that also encompasses the Galleria dell’Accademia, where the statue of David is located, you can’t beat this extremely well-reviewed tour .

As you’re planning your visit to the Duomo Complex, keep in mind that climbing to the top of the cupola/dome is by far the most competitive part of the visit, and visiting needs to be reserved in advance.

If you have your heart set on summitting those 463 steps, planning ahead is a must!

Book your tour of the Duomo Complex today!

detail shot of the marble facade of cathedral santa maria del fiore

Circle around Santa Maria del Fiore on the ground level.

Before doing anything else when arriving at the Duomo Complex, take a moment to fully encircle the Piazza del Duomo.

The building is gorgeous from every side, and strolling around the exterior is an excellent way to start appreciating just how massive it is!

It’ll also give you a chance to get your bearings and see where different monuments are located, from the baptistery right in front of the cathedral to the entrance to the cupola climb on the north side.

While the cafes and restaurants lining the edge of the piazza are–unsurprisingly–not generally known for their affordable prices or mind-blowing cuisine, there’s no denying that they have one of the most scenic views in town if you’d like to enjoy a drink.

Gelateria Edoardo , located on the corner of the piazza, is delicious and a great place to grab a cone to stroll around the cathedral with!

kate storm and ranger storm in front of florence cathedral santa maria del fiore

Step inside the cathedral.

The interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the only part of the Duomo Complex in Florence that is free to visit (other than enjoying the exterior, of course).

As a result, lines get very long, so consider arriving first thing in the morning (the cathedral typically opens at 10:00 AM).

Keep in mind that the interior of the cathedral is surprisingly empty (though the inlaid marble floor and the interior of the dome are showstoppers).

This is due in part to the fact that much of art and many of the artifacts from the Duomo were moved after the devastating flood of 1966 .

the last judgment painting in the interior of florence duomo dome

Admire the baptistery (inside and out!).

Constructed in the 11th century, the Baptistery of Saint John–often simply referred to as the Baptistery–is both older and arguably more ornate than the cathedral located next door to it.

The mosaic gold ceiling of the octagonal building is an absolute marvel, and it alone is worth stepping inside the Baptistery for!

The exterior, though, might be even more famous.

The Baptistery features 3 different sets of golden, sculpted doors, the most famous of which are the “Gates of Paradise”, carved by Lorenze Ghiberti and named by Michelangelo.

The Gates of Paradise face the front of the Duomo–or their replicas do, anyway!

The replicas seen on the Baptistery today are magnificent, but if you want to admire the originals, head over to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo–more on that in a bit.

inlaid mosaic ceiling of florence baptistery, one of the best things to do duomo florence tips

Climb Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Built between 1334 and 1359, 3 talented architects are responsible for the stunning bell tower (or campanile) that accompanies the Florence Duomo–but the first to work on it, Giotto, gets top billing in the name.

If you hope to climb Brunelleschi’s Dome, you may wonder if it’s worth ascending the 414 steps up the bell tower, too!

While that depends on how much you love views and how much time you have to enjoy Florence, the view waiting at the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower is definitely worth the climb.

The view from the campanile offers absolutely magnificent views of the cupola itself, something not as easily admired from the top of the dome, as well as the rest of the Piazza del Duomo (including the Baptistery) and Florence.

It’s a magnificent view, and we absolutely loved the experience!

view of florence cupola from giotto bell tower, alternative climb when visiting duomo florence tips

Enjoy the view from the exclusive Duomo Terraces.

Looking for one of the most unique views when visiting the Florence Duomo?

Try the Duomo Terraces!

These mid-level terraces are situated below the cupola, and can only be accessed via tour, not an independent visit.

This popular tour that we mentioned before includes access to them, as well as the the cupola!

Book a Duomo tour that includes the terraces today!

close up view of florence duomo detailing on exterior of cupola

Climb to the top of the cupola.

Of all the things to do at the Duomo in Florence, this is by far the most iconic–and also the most competitive ticket to get.

The cupola, the dome, Brunelleschi’s Dome… whatever you call it, ascending the 463 steps to the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is an unforgettable experience.

The stairs you climb were originally used by construction workers, so expect tight spaces and quite a bit of exercise along the way!

Once you get there, though, the view from the top is sublime.

If you want to climb the cupola during your Duomo visit, though, you’ll need to plan ahead: tickets virtually always sell out in advance.

Booking a tour like this is often a convenient way to get around sold-out tickets, as tour companies often have a pre-booked number of slots already available to them.

Book your climb up Brunelleschi’s Dome today!

view of giotto bell tower from florence dome climb

Explore the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo–or to keep it simple, the Duomo Museum–is located directly behind the cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo.

If you have time, it’s well worth a visit.

This is where you’ll find the original doors to the Baptistery, as well as lots of intricate art.

You’ll also find an entire display on the building of the cupola, complete with some construction equipment dating back to the 1400s!

If you’re planning to climb the cupola during your trip to Florence, visiting the museum before you do will give you incredible context for the rest of your visit.

display on the building of the florence duomo in museum, tips for visiting duomo florence italy

Visit the Crypt of Santa Reparata.

During your time visiting the Florence Duomo, you’ll likely hear that the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was built on the site of an earlier church.

Well, Santa Reparata was that church, and today you can visit it in its original location… right underneath the Duomo.

You’ll also find artifacts of even earlier Christian worship in the Crypt of Santa Reparata.

The entrance to the crypt is inside the cathedral, so if you hope to visit, be sure to have your Duomo ticket in hand before standing in line to enter the cathedral!

historic fresco and statue in crypt florence

Spot the secret bull statue.

If you are standing in line to climb the cupola of Florence’s Duomo (or if you just walk by the line), you’ll be able to look up and spot an unusual sight.

Underneath the dome, among the many carvings, one sticks out more than the rest: a bull.

No one is quite sure why this bull was carved into the third largest cathedral in the world.

Rumor has it that it may have been either a tribute to the working animals who contributed to the building of the Duomo, or an act of petty revenge by a spurned lover–personally, I find the second theory more entertaining!

What to Do in Florence: Bull of Santa Maria del Fiore

Plan ahead, especially if you want to climb the cupola.

Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome is one of the most sought-after attractions in Florence, and its popularity combined with the small, tight spaces at the top mean that it often sells out far in advance!

If you are hoping to climb the dome, plan as far in advance as you can commit to dates.

Hoping to nab last-minute tickets?

view of brunelleschis dome from above on a sunny day

Dress appropriately for touring the church.

Visiting the Duomo in Florence requires following the standard rules for visiting churches in Italy: no shoulders, cleavage, or shorts (men’s shorts that reach almost to the knee are usually fine, but nothing shorter).

If you’re visiting Italy during the summer, consider keeping a light scarf like this in your day bag so you can always be ready to duck inside a church if you would like.

Don’t worry if you forget, though–there will be approximately 82 salesmen in and around the Piazza del Duomo happy to sell you one if needed.

kate storm standing in front of florence duomo front doors

If you visit the Duomo independently, be sure to still book your tickets online.

Don’t want to book a tour?

We highly recommend still purchasing your tickets online, as the on-site office is both hard to spot (you can’t buy tickets at any of the Duomo Complex sites themselves) and can have long lines.

When visiting the Duomo independently, you can choose from several levels of tickets depending on which places you would like to visit.

Bear in mind that the cupola often sells out well in advance, and always requires a reserved time slot to visit.

If you’d like to visit the other Duomo Complex sites independently but are hoping to score a last-minute ticket to the cupola, this skip-the-line ticket is an excellent option.

Buy your dome climb and Duomo Complex ticket today!

Photo of the side of Florence's Duomo at blue hour with cupola in the background. Checking out the Duomo is one of the best things to do in Florence at night

… But if you need to buy them on-site, you can.

If you need to buy Duomo tickets in Florence and don’t want to do it online, the office to purchase them is located on the far side of the Piazza del Duomo, on the side of the building where the bell tower is located.

Standing on the side of the Duomo, find the door several steps back from the bell tower where worshippers (not tourists) enter.

Look directly across the street, and you’ll see the ticket office (pictured below).

As of the time of writing, the office is not marked on Google Maps.

front facade of yellow building selling florence duomo tickets

Admire views of the cathedral from a distance–it’s worth the effort.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore absolutely dominates the skyline of Florence, and no trip to the city is complete without admiring it from several angles!

While the views from Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower are magnificent, in order to fully appreciate the sight of the Duomo erupting from the center of Florence, you need a bit more distance.

Piazzale Michelangelo, the Boboli Gardens , and San Miniato al Monte are some of the most popular places to admire the Duomo, and they all have gorgeous views!

I’m also partial to the view from the Palazzo Vecchio , where you can get a gorgeous side view of the Duomo.

Book your skip-the-line ticket to the Palazzo Vecchio today!

view of florence duomo from the top of the palazzo vecchio

You don’t have to see everything in one day.

Duomo tickets to the complex sites come in multiple levels, depending on which attractions you want to visit.

All of them, however, include 3 calendar days from the first usage in order to visit the Duomo Complex.

If you’d prefer to, say, visit the Baptistery one day and the museum the next, that’s completely fine.

If you book a tour, make sure that it includes access to all of the Duomo attractions ( like this one ) rather than just the noted attractions if you’d like to explore the other sites independently.

kate storm in a blue dress looking up at the back of the florence cathedral

Don’t bring large bags to the Duomo, especially if you’re going to complete a climb.

If you need to check them, there’s a cloak room at the Duomo Museum that you can use.

Go early… or late.

Lines to enter the various things to do at the Duomo in Florence, especially at the cathedral itself, can get very long.

Plan to go early to beat the crowds… or alternatively, go around closing time!

When we climbed Giotto’s Bell Tower, we turned back from the long afternoon line and returned in the evening.

As a result, we walked right in and got to enjoy a stunning evening admiring the Duomo in Florence!

Florence Italy skyline at blue hour with Piazza Signoria lit up in the distance, an unforgettable addition to a Florence itinerary

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About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

3 thoughts on “Visiting the Duomo in Florence: Complete Guide + Tips!”

Bravo. Excellent. We are going again this fall, can’t wait. Thank you…great information..for 1st timers and even if you even before.

Thank you for the helpful info!

Happy to help! 🙂

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The Geographical Cure

Visiting Florence Cathedral & Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome, The Essential Guide

Florence Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Firenze and Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals.

Visiting this architectural wonder is an immersive experience. You can admire the stunning facade, stroll through the cathedral interior, and hike up the stairs to Brunelleschi’s dome for stunning views.

In this guide, I tell you everything to know to have the best visit — a mini history of the Duomo, everything to see, how to get skip the line tickets, and how to climb Brunelleschi’s iconic dome.

Florence's Duomo with the iconic Brunelleschi dome

This guide will help you have an efficient visit to the Duomo, which is the very symbol of Florence.

Overview of the Duomo

Nicknamed the Duomo, Florence Cathedral is the most prominent, and popular, landmark in Florence. Duomo doesn’t mean dome.

The word Duomo is a nickname for a cathedral, combining Latin words that translate as house of God.

Pinterest pin for guide to Florence Cathedral

The Duomo was built over 172 years, beginning in 1296. The Commune of Florence hired architect Arnolfo di Cambio, a man responsible for building much of 13th and 14th century Florence.

Florence Cathedral is nicknamed the Duomo. It’s also called the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Fiore, or St. Mary of the Flowers.

There was no such saint in real life. But Florence, or Firenze, means lily flower. So the city cathedral took on the symbol of Florence.

a secret terrace of Florence Cathedral

Tickets & Tours Of Florence Cathedral

You have to be organized to visit the Duomo and climb the dome. It’s an exceedingly popular activity.

You may want to book a guided tour of the Duomo itself. You can also book a guided tour that includes access to the dome and secret terraces that you wouldn’t see on a regular visit.

It’s absolutely essential to pre-book a ticket to climb Brunelleschi’s dome .

You can also book a combination guided tour for the Baptistery, Duomo Museum and a dome climb. This 3 hour combination guided tour covers the four attractions I’ve just mentioned, plus Giotto’s bell tower.

the 19th century facade of Florence Cathedral, with the main portal

Guide To Florence Cathedral: What To See

Here’s what you can’t miss at Florence’s Duomo:

1. Architecture

Arnolfo di Cambio was the original architect who got the project off the ground. The patron was the Commune or the city of Florence.

There was a pre-existing church on sit, Santa Reparata. The citizens weren’t that excited about demolishing it. So Arnolfo built his church around the older church.

The first part that went up was the brownstone facade. Then, Arnolfo built the walls around the older church. The old church would remaining standing for 100 years. Finally, when the original protestors were long gone, the Florentines tore it down.

Florence Cathedral is Gothic in style. But not in the light and elegant way you think of France’s Notre Dame or Chartres.

The cathedral is made of pietra forte , brown sandstone. The sandstone was beautifully faced with pink marble (from Tuscany), green marble (from Prato), and white (from Carrera) marble.

the 14th century facade

The Duomo relies, for its first dazzling effect on its jaw dropping facade. The Duomo has two marble facades, one from the 14th century (on the sides) and one from the 19th century (the front).

The 14th century facade was designed by Andrea Orcagna and Taddeo Gaddi. There’s an intense amount of Gothic detailing and copies of early Renaissance sculptures (originals are in the Duomo Museum).

READ : Guide To Florence’s Duomo Museum

The original 14th century facade on the front, built by Arnolfo di Cambio, was taken down in the 1587. It was considered outdated. The city wanted a Renaissance facade.

Unfortunately, due to corruption and scandal, a new Neo-Gothic facade wasn’t rebuilt until the 19th century. In the interim, for 300 years, the front facade was just raw brownstone.

reconstruction of the facade that was torn down in 1587

In the Duomo Museum , you can see a giant reconstruction of Arnolfo’s facade that was torn down, along with the statues that once adorned it.

The 19th century facade is an extravaganza of Neo-Gothic decoration, too much to even try to describe. It has a large Rose window and smaller Rosette windows.

There are three main doors, or portals. The portals have lunettes with architraves and mosaic decoration.

The main portal has over-the-top Gothic decoration with Mary, saints, popes, and trumpeters. On both sides of the bronze doors in tabernacles are statues of the Florence’s patron saints: St. Reparata on the left and St. Zenobius on the right.

For awhile, Florence Cathedral was the largest church in the world. But, then St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome , blew it away.

detail of the front facade of Florence Cathedral

3. Facade Sculptures

On the original 14th century facade, the sculptures were created by the greatest artists of the day — Arnolfo di Cambio, Donatello, and Nanni di Banco. The sculptures reflect the transition from the Gothic to the early Renaissance style. If you want to see these statues in person, the original works are now in the Duomo Museum.

The sculpture in the middle of the reconstructed facade is Arnolfo’s famous Madonna With the Glass Eyes , dating from around 1300. It’s one of the most famous sculptures in history. Arnolfo introduced naturalism and paid attention to anatomy, unlike the prior Byzantine style.

And, of course, Michelangelo’s David was originally intended to be set atop the Duomo. But it was deemed too beautiful. Instead, David was placed at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio . Now, it’s in the Accademia Gallery.

On the Duomo’s 19th century facade, there’s a long row of tabernacles containing sculptures of Mary and Jesus and the 12 apostles. It’s right under the rose window.

Above that, between the rose window and the tympanum, there’s a gallery with busts of famous Florentine artists.

the Giotto bell otter between the Duomo and Baptistery

4. Giotto Bell Tower

In 1334, the Commune decided to add the bell tower. They hired Giotto, the most famous painter of the 14th century. Giotto was pretty old by this time. He died 3 years later in 1337. He may not have had much real input.

Then, Florence hired Nicola Pisano, who designed the earliest set of the Baptistery bronze doors. But he was dismissed two years later.

READ : Guide To the Florence Baptistery

Then, Francesco Talenti was hired. He finished the project in two years flat. For his dispatch, he was named head architect of the cathedral.

view from the Giotto bell tower

When you look at the bell tower, you can see the different architects at work. Talenti likely did levels 5-7.

On a Giotto Campanile climb, you have Florence’s best views of the Duomo and Brunelleschi’s dome.

There are no elevators though, and it’s 414 steps to the top. The lines can sometimes be quite long.

READ : Best Views in Florence

the rather spare interior of Florence Cathedral

5. Interior

While Florence Cathedral is elegantly and intricately “frosted” with colored marble on the outside, inside Florence Cathedral is austere and almost empty. You might even wonder if it was ever finished.

Talenti was responsible for the interior decoration. Talenti was an “architect’s architect.” He wanted the decoration to be minimal to emphasize the architecture. There’s geometric proportion and a few pointed arches.

The octagonal crossing space is vast, 143 feet across with large bays. There’s no real transept space. There are five radiating chapels.

There are two important frescos painted by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno — Condottiero Giovanni Acuto and Niccolò da Tolentino. And a sculpture of Brunelleschi by Andrea Cavalcanti.

You can also visit the cathedral’s crypt, where you will find the ruins of Santa Reparata.

view of the Duomo and Brunelleschi's dome

6. Brunelleschi’s Dome

Filippo Brunelleschi’s magnificent terra cotta colored dome, built from 1420-36, is the highlight of Florence Cathedral.

It’s a true Renaissance masterpiece and wonder of pre-industrial engineering. When it began building the Duomo, Florence knew it lacked the requisite technology to complete the dome.

Before Brunelleschi came along, the Duomo lay open for well over a century. But Brunelleschi was the perfect balance of architect and engineer, visionary and traditionalist.

Brunelleschi developed a “dome within in a dome” double shell concept that worked without wooden centering. Financed by Cosimo de Medici (the Elder), it catapulted the Medici name forward in Florentine society.

Brunelleschi’s dome was over a foot wider than the Pantheon in Rome . That was intentional; size mattered. It’s still the largest brick dome ever built, all 4 million bricks of it.

video of the views from the dome

7. Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome

If you need to burn off some pasta carbs, climb the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome.

It’s one of the best things to do in Florence. When you make the climb, you’re between the two domes Brunelleschi designed.

But be forewarned, it’s very tight. The narrow twisting corridor gets clogged.

It can be hot, stuffy, and potentially claustrophobic. And there’s no elevator. If you’re doing the dome climb in the summer, it will be stifling.

frescos on the dome by Giorgio Vasari and his workshop

8. Vasari’s The Last Judgment

About 2/3 of the way up is a viewing ledge at the base of the drum. From here, you have a splendid view of Giorgio Vasari’s dome fresco of The Last Judgment , painted from 1572-79.

The fresco was cleaned and restored in 1996. It’s a bit hard to get a good photo because the viewing area is covered by netting.

Covering some 3,6000 square meters, the fresco is the largest one in the world. Originally, Brunelleschi wanted his dome covered in gold mosaics like the Baptistery. But that plan was never realized, probably because it was too costly.

READ : Guide To the Art of Giorgio Vasari

120 years after Brunelleschi’s death, Giorgio Vasari was commissioned by Cosimo I to fresco the dome. The Last Judgment is divided in to five zones.

detail of Vasari's The last Judgment

Enthroned in the center is Christ the judge. The various levels separated by bands show the other players in the drama — the elders of the apocalypse, saints, member of the Medici family, and the damned in hell.

In their monumentality, the figures floating against the background of heaven are reminiscent of those of Michelangelo, who Vasari revered. Michelanglo’s The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel was Vasari’s inspiration.

READ : The Michelangelo Guide to Florence

Back inside the dome, the climb gets progressively more challenging. The magnificent panoramic view from the top is worth the discomfort though. You can see all of Florence and some of the Tuscan countryside.

Florence Cathedral

Practical Guide & Tips For Florence Cathedral

Here are some other tips for visiting the Duomo.

How To Get Tickets For the Duomo and Brunelleschi’s Dome

So, now to the nitty gritty details. What’s the best way to get tickets for the Duomo and Brunelleschi’s dome?

Right now, you can buy individual tickets to the different Duomo attractions. Or you can buy a combination ticket on the website.

I recommend the Brunelleschi Pass . You can also book the Giotto Pass, but that doesn’t give you dome access.

The current individual fees are: (1) Brunelleschi’s dome € 20; (2) Giotto Bell Tower € 15; and (3) Baptistery and Duomo Museum € 10.

view from the dome

You can try to buy your tickets in person in Florence and try to reserve a dome climb entry time. But they could be sold out.

Go to either the main Duomo ticket office (facing the Baptistery) or at a ticket machine in the Duomo Museum lobby.

The dome climb is ONLY possible with an advance reservation and ticket . You can book a time slot when you purchase your combination ticket online. Dome climb time slots can fill up weeks in advance in high season, so reserve well ahead.

I would only do the dome climb if you’re in pretty decent physical health and don’t suffer from any claustrophobia.

pink and green marble facade of Florence Cathedral

Once you’ve made the reservation, you can’t change it. Show up 20-30 minutes early.

The entrance for the dome climb is on the north side of the Duomo at Porta della Mandorla. If you are more than 5 minutes late for your designated time, you won’t be let in.

Note that entrance to the Duomo itself is free. But, without the pass, you will encounter long lines.

Generally, I’d say that, if you’re pressed for time, it’s not essential to wait to go inside the cathedral. The interior is rather underwhelming compared to the eye catching exterior.

the Baptistery

How To Plan Your Visit To the Duomo Sites

To help plan your visit to the complex, here are the time schedules of the Duomo sites.

They all open and close at different times. Check the specific website because sometimes hours change.

  • Duomo : 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Brunelleschi’s Dome : 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
  • Giotto Bell Tower | Campanile : 8:15 am to 10:15 am & 11:15 am to 7:30 pm
  • Crypt : 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Duomo Museum : 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (but closed Sunday afternoon)
  • Baptistery : 8:15 am to 6:30 pm

Hall of Paradise in the Duomo Museum in Florence

To budget your time in the best way, I would start with the Baptistery at 8:15 am, move on to the Duomo Museum, and then have a bell tower climb scheduled for 11:00 am or so.

Don’t rush through the wonderful museum. It has an outstanding collection of Medieval and Renaissance sculpture and a reconstructed Duomo facade. It’s the best cathedral museum I’ve ever been in.

You can also see Brunelleschi’s models for the dome and watch a film on how it was constructed.

You don’t want to climb both the Duomo dome and the Giotto bell tower on the same day. Also, because there are religious sites, you must dress conservatively. No sleeveless tops or short/skirts above the knee.

READ : Compete Guide to the Duomo Museum

beautiful mosaics in the Florence Baptistery

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to visiting Florence Cathedral and climbing Brunelleschi’s dome. If you just love Florence, here are some of my other Florence guides:

  • 7 Sites You Need Reservations for in Florence
  • 2 Day Itinerary for Florence
  • 3 Day Itinerary for Florence
  • Guide to the Medici Palaces
  • Guide to the Bargello Museum
  • Guide to the Uffizi Gallery
  • Guide to the Piazza della Signoria
  • Guide to the Palazzo Vecchio
  • Must See Sites in Florence for Art Lovers
  • Best Museums in Florence
  • Tips for Visiting Italy

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6 thoughts on “Visiting Florence Cathedral & Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome, The Essential Guide”

Thank you for the detailed information. I will surely make a reservation well ahead of time before our visit to Florence in March. I plan to climb the dome to watch sunset, but do have a question when I just had a test run of buying tickets. I tried to book the tickets for Nov 30 at 6pm, it says “Time: Visit 30 November 2022 entrance time 18:00 exit time 18:45 (Europe/Rome)”. Does it mean that I have to leave the dome by 18:45? Or we could stay as long as we want?

I was just there I May and there was no “exit” time. I doubt they can “make” you exit. It’s probably more of a suggestion on their part. Get there 15 minutes early to like up. Make sure you have the right entrance.

We were there in late November 2023 and they let you up so you could look around but then cleared everyone out after 45 minutes so others could come up.

Any particular reason why I don’t want to climb both the Duomo dome and the Giotto bell tower on the same day?

It’s just a lot of steps. You can do it of course. I’m just not sure climbing both would be the best use of your time. But if you’re going to, I’d say the bell tower has somewhat better views and the dome climb has the benefit of seeing the Vasari frescos.

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Last Updated on January 30, 2024 by Leslie Livingston

Visiting the Duomo in Florence: A Detailed Guide & Real Tips!

Visiting the Duomo in Florence, Italy, can be completely overwhelming. Let’s just start with the name.

If you’re fancy, it officially goes by the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). You may also see references to it as the Florence Cathedral. 

It’s also one of the most iconic landmarks in Florence .

That’s what makes it such a draw and a must-see for tourists in Italy . Well, that and its stunning architecture, rich history, and breathtaking views. 

Again, though, it can be overwhelming.

We definitely felt those vibes during our trip to Florence . 

That’s why I put together a guide for you on everything you need to know to make your trip to the Duomo a magical one. I’ll include information on what to see in the greater cathedral complex, too.

You’re already here, so you may as well make the most of it all, especially if you’ve got the stamina for it.

Quick Tips for Your Florence Visit

Your Flight:  We visited Florence from Bologna . To do the same, target Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport. The main airport in Florence is Florence Peretola Airport. Love deals? Subscribe to  Going .

Your Accommodations:  Browse  or  for accommodation options in Florence. Vrbo is my Airbnb alternative.

Top Spots: Climb Brunelleschi’s Dome, marvel at the Florence Cathedral, and check out the art at the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Disclosure: Travel on the Reg uses affiliate links to keep things running around here . At no additional cost to you, I earn a lil’ commission if you make a purchase. Any income earned supports the upkeep of this site . I appreciate you!

The Florence Duomo: A Mini-History

An aerial view from Brunelleschi’s dome while visiting the Duomo in Florence

The Duomo is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture constructed between 1296 and 1436 on top of the second cathedral of Florence.

Yes, it took that long for this thing to come to fruition, and the leads on the project changed numerous times. 

The dome that makes the church an architectural marvel may not have happened at all without Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi.

Brunelleschi’s contribution to the Florence Cathedral was the dome’s design. He invented the methods to help make his vision of the stunning dome happen. It was all quite revolutionary, really.  

Fun fact: This was the first dome in history of this size and shape to be built without temporary wooden frames supporting it. Brunelleschi used brickwork in a herringbone pattern instead between his framework of stone beams. 

The decorative accents on the outside of the Duomo weren’t completed until 1887. A second Italian architect, Emilio De Fabris, is responsible for designing the prominent west facade.

What is the Duomo? 

A woman poses at the top of the dome climb after visiting the Duomo in Florence.

I encountered some confusion of my own when planning our day(s) at the complex, namely around what was considered the Duomo and what was more ancillary.

When most local folks talk about the Duomo, that’s a reference to the cathedral itself and its massive dome.

As you investigate ticketing options for the Duomo, you’ll find that there’s so much more to see as part of the greater Duomo complex. 

That includes:

  • The Florence Cathedral: This is the most important site in the complex and the only free experience you can enjoy. That means you should expect long lines of folks interested in getting in there for views from below of the frescoes inside.
  • The Dome: Also known as “Brunelleschi’s Dome,” this is the biggest draw for many Florence tourists. It’s a decent climb up, but the payoff is pretty dang incredible. Prioritize this one if you’re able to hoof it all the way up. There is no lift.
  • Giotto’s Campanile/Giotto’s Bell Tower: If you’re a glutton for punishment or fantastic views, add the climb up this free-standing tower to your Duomo itinerary for views of the dome from the top. It’s a unique vantage point.
  • Santa Reparata: You can see this crypt and archaeological dig site underneath the cathedral with your visit to the church. You can also skip the line at the cathedral if you buy one of the available combo passes. They all include this one.
  • The Baptistery of San Giovanni/The Baptistery of St. John: Unfortunately, this one was closed for restoration at the time of our visit. If you’re able to step inside, expect mosaics to surround you in the octagonal building.
  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Opera del Duomo Museum): Don’t sleep on this museum. It’s thick with impressive artifacts and sculptures from masters like Donatello and Michelangelo. 

Where is the Duomo in Florence?

The Duomo in Florence is in the Piazza del Duomo, a complex of some of the most important buildings in the Italian city. It’s just a five-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio bridge, too, so it’s on most tourist tracks already.

READ MORE: Deciding between Florence or Rome? This guide can help!

When is the best time to visit the Duomo in Florence?

The best time to visit the Duomo is right when it opens in the morning. If you want to time your visit around the perfect season, fall in Italy is spectacular.

Our own visit was in October. The temperatures were lovely and the crowds were manageable. I wouldn’t want to do this one in the peak of summer unless that’s your only option!

Basic Tips for Visiting the Duomo in Florence

An exhibit inside the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence

You need tickets for all but the cathedral in the Duomo complex. The church itself is free and open most days outside of Sunday. Religious holidays, feast days, and special events may also create scheduling conflicts for tourists. Most of the other Duomo attractions within the Duomo complex are open daily, although opening hours vary by season.

I suggest buying passes online based on the time you have available in Florence. Each pass is good for 72 hours from the date you choose for the first day of your visit. 

I do NOT suggest waiting until you’re in Florence to purchase passes for any of the main sites, especially if you expect to climb the dome. We traveled to Florence in October, an off-season time, and passes still sold out the week ahead of our travel.

Combo passes for the Duomo complex include the following:

  • The Brunelleschi Pass: This is the pass we chose for our visit. If you have two days to hit everything, I’d recommend you do the same. This pass covered all available sites on the Duomo complex.
  • The Giotto Pass: This one doesn’t include the dome. Visit Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of St. John, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata on this one.
  • The Ghiberti Pass: This one drops the dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Visit the Baptistery of St. John, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata on this one.

What to Wear at the Duomo

A woman walks the Piazza del Duomo with the bell tower in the background while visiting the Duomo in Florence.

There is a dress code for the Duomo. This is a religious site, so avoid wearing anything too revealing. That means no shorts, tank tops, cropped items, or super short skirts.

You may be denied entry even with a ticket if you’re unable to cover up. 

That’d be more disappointing than whatever statement you were trying to make, right?

Carry a shawl or a scarf in your bag if you insist on baring those shoulders. 

Note: About that bag…keep it close to your body at all times. This is one of the most popular touristic sites in the world, which means the potential for pickpockets. We didn’t have any problems, but we’ve also had things stolen before so we’re more cautious these days.

As far as your shoes, this isn’t the day to break in a new pair of kicks. Wear your most comfortable pair, especially if you’re doing any of the climbs.  I love a good pair of Keds when I’m looking at a day of high step counts.

How to Visit the Duomo in Florence

If you’re short on time, I would still purchase the combo pass that includes all of the Duomo complex. Otherwise, you can’t climb the dome.

Along with the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, and the Accademia Gallery, the dome climb is a priority for many tourists in Florence.

The only other option outside of combo passes are guided tours that take you exactly where you’d like to go in a more efficient manner.

Here are a few highly-rated options if you have your eye on a Duomo walking tour:

A guided tour would certainly have been a more VIP experience, but if you’d like to do things our way, we were comfortable with our choice. We actually got through every site but the main cathedral and crypt in one full day at the complex. 

Our first day went in this order:

  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
  • Giotto’s Bell Tower
  • The Baptistery of St. John (exterior only)

It was a busy day and there were definitely some tired legs after a pair of stair climbs, but they really don’t give you a ton of time to linger as you explore. We finished up with the cathedral and crypt the following morning.

Let’s dive into each site available to help you prioritize your day. 

Florence Cathedral

A view from below of the Florence Cathedral in Florence

Hours: 10:15am-4:45pm Monday through Saturday

Again, you don’t need tickets if you’re here for the cathedral. You’ll just need to wait in line. If you’re here with a buddy, one of you can spend time admiring the facade of the building and its shades of white, pink, and green while the other waits. 

If you love that color scheme, by the way, don’t miss the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella while you’re in Florence. She’s another stunner.

A view from below of Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence

Hours: 8:15am-7:30pm Monday through Friday, 8:15am-5:15pm Saturday, and 12:45pm to 4:15pm Sunday

The Duomo is incredible. It’s hard to describe it all in words because it truly is an architectural wonder. I’m saying this as someone who has seen A LOT of religious sites around Europe. 

The Duomo is absolutely one of the most impressive.

Tips for Climbing the Duomo in Florence

Enter the dome from the north side of the cathedral through the Porta della Mandorla. My only tip as far as priority order is to start with the dome if that’s part of your plans. 

You’ll be asked to book a time slot at the point of purchase. We chose the earliest slot available, knowing that we’d have time to see the actual cathedral at another point if needed.

How long does it take to climb the Duomo? It can take up to an hour to climb the Duomo if you’re really taking your time with your visit. That includes photo stops and time at the top. You’ll need to climb 463 steps to get to the top, as there’s no elevator or lift option for visitors.

How hard is it to climb the Duomo in Florence? It’s fairly difficult to climb the Duomo. There are very few spots to rest along the way up until you get to The Last Judgment . It gets backed up ahead of the frescoes as people stop to take their well-deserved photos. 

Fun fact: The Last Judgment was a collaboration by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, who finished up the frescoes after Vasari’s death. You’ll pass those same frescoes on the way down, so make sure to take one more good look as you make your way around. 

The view from the very top of the dome is spectacular. Take the opportunity to feel the breeze and rest before you trek down. Check out the views from all sides. 

A couple poses from the top of Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence.

The climb down was much easier physically, but I did get a little dizzy. Try to take your time. You’ll pass an exhibit on tools used to build the dome along the way.

The only bummer was how many people carved their names into the pillars at the top. You’re a jerk, Celine, wherever you are. 

Giotto’s Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower)

A view of the Duomo from Giotto’s Bell Tower in Florence

Hours: 8:15am-7:45pm daily (Last entry is at 7pm.)

Access Giotto’s Bell Tower through a doorway at the front of the Gothic tower. This one isn’t as tall a climb as the dome at JUST 414 steps, but if you already did the dome climb, you may be doing this one on some jelly legs.

The tower was designed by its namesake, the Italian architect and artist Giotto. His full name was Giotto di Bondone, but most know him just by the one name because they’re nasty.

Several of the bells inside are still operational and rung on special occasions. You’ll be able to see one of the largest, Apostolica, once you’re at the top.

The largest bell in Giotto's Bell Tower in Florence

The grates at the top make it a little challenging to get a good photo from the top. If you angle your camera or phone just right, you can get some beautiful views of the dome from here. 

If you’re a little weird about tight spaces, I found this one a bit more challenging in that regard. Try to keep climbing until you get to the natural stopping platforms to keep things moving in those narrow halls. 

Santa Reparata

A view up to the dome from the cathedral while visiting the Duomo in Florence

Hours: 10:15am-4:45pm Monday-Saturday, 1:30-5pm Sunday

Santa Reparata is accessed through the cathedral on the south side, and the reason for that is simple. It’s a crypt that sits underneath the church. 

While there are some famous tombs in here — Brunelleschi himself is laid to rest in a separate area through the gift shop — it’s also an archaeological site. You can see all that was dug up here during excavation efforts between 1965 and 1973.

Once you’re done with your time underground, you can sneak quite a few looks at the cathedral itself before you exit without the expected line.

READ MORE: Love ancient historical sites? Rome should be on your list. Check out my guide!

The Baptistery of St. John

An exterior view of the Baptistery of St. John in Florence

Hours: 8:30am-7:45pm daily

You really can’t miss this one on the Piazza del Duomo. It’s the large octagonal building on the north end with a set of imposing bronze doors. 

This one was closed for renovations during our visit. If you visit once construction is done, you’ll be able to see the site as tourism intended and as part of your combo tickets. That’s mosaics surrounding its impressive doors and religious works of art throughout. 

If you’re not able to get inside this one, the doors are quite important on their own. The east doors are replicas of the original “Gates of Paradise” designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Fear not. You can see the originals at the next stop.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Opera del Duomo Museum)

La Pieta at the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence

Access this impressive museum across from the Piazza del Duomo. There is a lot to see here, so how you go about doing that may depend on your Renaissance fatigue. That’s when you’ve been in Italy for a while and just can’t with another famous this or that.

I know. It’s awful. 

We didn’t see much of the second floor for this reason in favor of the big-ticket items. That included one of Michelangelo’s Pietà sculptures. We were shocked to have the room to ourselves, to be honest. 

Note: This is the lesser-known Pietà. His most well-known version sits in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. That doesn’t make it any less interesting. In this one, the hooded figure may be a self-portrait of Michelangelo. It hasn’t been verified either way.

On that same floor, you’ll be able to see a haunting wooden sculpture from Donatello of Saint Mary Magdalene. 

Head upstairs to the first floor for an exhibit detailing the process of Brunelleschi’s dome. Honestly, this bit was quite fascinating, especially when you learn about where all of the materials came from to make his dream a reality. 

One of my favorite stops was up on the terrace. The Belvedere della Cupola is a room with a skylight that faces the dome and an outdoor terrace. 

The dome from a terrace view inside the museum in the Duomo complex in Florence

If you time your trip to the museum after you’ve been to the dome, it only makes you appreciate the experience more. This makes for an excellent last look at an architectural wonder that meets all expectations.

Where to Stay Around the Duomo Complex

We stayed in Oltarno during our week-long trip to Florence. It’s a fantastic neighborhood if you want to get away from the tourist center at the end of Duomo activities, and it boasts some of the best eating in the city.

This is on the other side of the Arno, though, so expect to walk around 20 minutes to and from anything you want to see in the historic center.

For more convenience, there are quite a few options for hotel accommodations with easy access to the Duomo complex. Use the map below to get you started:

Is it worth going inside the Duomo in Florence?

The Duomo in Florence is definitely worth your time.

Even if you only get inside the cathedral, prepare to be gobsmacked by the attention to detail. The greater Duomo complex is an integral piece of the city’s history. I highly recommend dedicating at least a full day to everything else there is to see around the main cathedral. It has big potential to be the most impressive thing you do in Florence, whether you tackle the complex solo or with travel guides.

I know I have plans to return to get inside the baptistery!

Traveling elsewhere in Italy? Check out these posts:

  • A Detailed Guide to the Best of Bologna
  • Why Visit Colorful Burano, Italy
  • A One-Day Guide to Verona, Italy
  • Plan a Day Trip to Lucca, Italy
  • Love Pizza? Don’t Miss Historic Naples

I’m not done yet! Here are a few more from around Europe:

  • Things to Do in Delicious Parma
  • Should Venice Make Your Italy Bucket List?
  • A Guide to the Best Tours in Chianti
  • Why You Need to Take This Bologna Tour
  • How to Visit the Best Venetian Islands

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Visiting the Duomo Florence (Florence Cathedral): The Ultimate Guide

Posted on Published: December 20, 2021  - Last updated: November 23, 2022

Categories Blog , Cultural Travel , Europe , History , Italy , Religious Sites

If you travel to Tuscany, one of the top tourist attractions is the Duomo Florence. It’s the main church in Florence, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore . Located in the heart of Florence at Piazza del Duomo, it’s one of the most visited places in Europe. That’s for an excellent reason: these are architectural and artistic wonders.

I highly recommend visiting the Duomo when you travel to Florence. It’s featured in my 3 day Florence itinerary as a must see spot. There are several structures in Piazza del Duomo: Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of St. John, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and others, including the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

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Duomo Florence

The Cathedral is the largest building in medieval Europe and the fourth largest in all of Europe in the present day. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the Historic Center of Florence . Visiting the Florence Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Florence. Trust me, it’s worth climbing up hundreds of stairs to the top of the Duomo. You’ll enjoy one of the best views of Florence from up there.

Table of Contents

Admiring the Exterior of the Duomo Florence: Piazza del Duomo

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

You should absolutely walk around Piazza del Duomo and appreciate the cathedral from the outside. It’s a massive building that you have to see in person. It’s hard to gauge the sheer size of the Duomo Florence from photographs alone. This is one of the most famous places in Italy and you’ll quickly see why: the Duomo is magnificent.

 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

There are so many intricate carvings, statues, and mosaic tiles in shades of white, pink, and green. Walking around Florence is like living in a museum. You need to see everything right up close. Walking around the outside of the Florence Duomo Complex is totally free and it’s right in the middle of the city, so you can do this as many times as you like when you travel here.

Places to Visit at the Duomo Complex in Florence, Italy

Duomo Complex in Florence

Once you’ve thoroughly explored the exterior of the cathedral from all sides, it’s time to go inside the church. When you travel to Florence, you must climb to the top of the Duomo’s cupola, admiring the interior of the cathedral on your way.

I’ll also show you some other places to go within the Duomo complex as well. If you only have a short amount of time in Florence, I suggest checking out the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the observation deck at the top of the Duomo.

All hours of operation are listed on the official website. You can also find the ticket prices there as well.

Visiting Inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (It’s Free!)

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the third longest church in the world at 153 metres long, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. The first longest church is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the second longest is St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. When it first opened in the 15th century, it was the largest church in Europe.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

This is the third cathedral of Florence, built over top of the second cathedral. It’s dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the Virgin of the Flower, which references the lily (the symbol of Florence). Construction on this church lasted many years. The first stone was laid on September 8th, 1296, and the drum of the dome wasn’t completed until 1421.

Visiting Santa Maria del Fiore is completely free. Make sure you respect the rules of attire as this is a place of worship. You must cover your shoulders, knees, and refrain from wearing sandals, hats, and sunglasses. 

As it’s a free attraction, there can be long lines that grow throughout the day. The lines do move rather quickly, but we recommend arriving early. Allow yourself about 30 minutes to fully experience the interior of the Florence Cathedral.

Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Duomo Florence

Duomo paintings

You must book your entry time for the Duomo ahead of time. There are only a limited amount of spaces for each time slot every day, and they do sell out. Plan in advance to book the best time slot for your schedule. Give yourself about one hour to see the Duomo. This includes seeing the interior, climbing the stairs, and admiring the view at the top.

Duomo Florence paintings

Even with a limited amount of people allowed at one time, we found that the wait times were still lengthy inside the Duomo. Try to book your visit as early in the day as possible for shorter wait times.

Duomo Florence paintings

The Duomo’s cupola was added in the 15th century by Filippo Brunelleschi. The dome is egg-shaped and built without using any scaffolding. It was revolutionary at the time and it’s still an architectural feat. The cathedral took about 140 years to complete, with some finishing touches extending beyond that time.

Stained glass window

The dome was constructed as a support-free dome with a double shell. When you climb the stairs, you’re hiking in the air space between these two domes. The inner dome supports the structure, made out of light bricks. The outer dome serves as a protective barrier from the elements.

On your way to the top, you have the opportunity to stop on two different levels to gaze up at the painted inner shell of the dome. These famous ceiling frescoes, painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari from 1572 to 1579, depict the Last Judgment.

Climbing to the Top of the Cupola, Brunelleschi’s Dome

Brunelleschi’s Dome

It takes 463 steps to get to the top of the cupola, but it’s well worth the trek. Unfortunately, there is no elevator and you will be required to climb the stairs.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

You’ll get a little bit of a workout, which will help you burn off all the pizza and pasta I’m sure you’ve been eating in Italy. On the way up the stairs, you’ll be able to catch little glimpses of what’s to come.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of the city. With a 360 degree panoramic view, you can see everything from up there. From the tops of the rust roof buildings to the rolling Tuscan hillside off in the distance, this scenery will leave you in awe.

Views from the Duomo Florence

While admiring the interior of the Florence Cathedral was worth the price of admission, the panoramic scenery from up top was the highlight of our visit. Next, I’ll detail another great place within the Duomo Florence building complex where you can see amazing views, too.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto's Bell Tower

Giotto’s Bell Tower (Giotto’s Campanile) stands next to the Duomo. It was designed by Giotto in 1334, but was not finished until after his death. It is one of four main monuments in the Piazza del Duomo. Giotto’s Campanile is one of the finest examples of 14th century Gothic architecture and likely built more for decorative purposes than functional ones.

Views from the Duomo Florence

The bell tower is 84 metres tall and 15 metres wide, and it is thought to be the most beautiful bell tower in Italy. The marble reliefs are copies of the ones by Andrea Pisano, and the original ones are located in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. Pisano completed the bell tower after Giotto died in 1337, and he only made some small changes to the design (gave the bell tower a flat roof rather than a spire).

You can climb to the top of Giotto’s Campanile for more stunning panoramic views of Florence. If you have the time to visit both the bell tower and the Duomo, definitely do it. If you find yourself with a shorter period of time in Florence, I suggest only visiting the Duomo and participating in some other activities with your remaining time in Florence.

The Duomo Terraces

Views from the Duomo Florence

The Duomo Terraces weren’t open when we visited Italy, but it’s another way to experience the amazing Duomo Florence. The Cathedral Terraces are a continuous balcony at the base of the dome that offer a close-up view of the architecture and marble carvings.

The main function of the Duomo Terraces were for workers who maintained the cathedral. While it’s still used for that purpose today, tourists can also explore this balcony for an alternative view of the Duomo and Florence.

The Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Florence Baptistery (Baptistery of Saint John or Battistero di San Giovanni) is the oldest building in Florence and it sits opposite of the Duomo. It was already completely built before they began building the Duomo. Built in the Florentine Romanesque style, its construction likely started in the 4th or 5th century.

The Baptistery is most famous for its three sets of bronze doors with relief sculptures. Many notable Italian figures were baptized here, and the Baptistery contains the monumental tomb of Antipope John XXIII, by Donatello.

To visit the Battistero di San Giovanni, you must book a combined ticket with the Opera del Duomo Museum. You can visit the Baptistery on its own without a ticket to the museum, but these tickets are only available on the first Tuesday of each month.

Opera del Duomo Museum

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to visit the Opera Museum when we were in Florence as it reopened in late 2015. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to visit when we return to Florence someday. In 1891, the museum was founded to conserve the works of art that have been removed from the Duomo and Baptistery.

There are more than 750 works of art across three levels at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The main floor houses a sculpture gallery, including the main altar by Girolamo Ticciati and sculptures from Di Cambio’s workshop.

The second floor features artwork from the Bell Tower, the Cupola, and the works of Baccio Bandinelli. And the third level showcases models and proposals for the new facade, as well as an outdoor terrace facing the Cupola.

Your ticket to the Opera Museum also comes with a ticket to the Baptistery. Please note that you must visit the museum first before the Baptistery with this combined ticket.

Plan Your Visit to the Duomo Florence

Views from the Duomo Florence

I don’t recommend simply showing up at many tourist attractions in Florence. As Florence is such a popular city to visit, many of the top attractions have timed tickets. By purchasing timed tickets, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle (you won’t need to wait in huge lines to buy tickets) and you’ll have guaranteed entry to these locations. These places do sell out in advance, so you need to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

How to Book Tickets and Tours to the Duomo Florence

Views from the Duomo Florence

It is easy to purchase tickets to any of the above attractions from the official Duomo website . You can buy tickets in person from the official Ticket Office in Piazza del Duomo no. 14/A, but it is subject to availability and there are no guarantees. I don’t recommend waiting to buy them.

You can also purchase tickets to Brunelleschi’s Dome in advance from this popular booking website . It ensures that you have a set time and you can skip the line. For only a little bit of an extra cost, you can book a guided tour and receive some explanation behind what you’re observing.

Another site that I didn’t mention that you can also visit is the Crypt of Santa Reparata, at the Santa Reparata church. It doesn’t look like you need any tickets to visit.

How to Dress While Visiting the Florence Cathedral

Justin and Lauren in Florence Italy

It’s important to dress appropriately. Bring something to cover your shoulders and knees, or wear pants/long shorts and a top with sleeves. Don’t have bare shoulders. Wear comfortable footwear as you’ll be climbing a lot of stairs.

You won’t be able to bring any large bags or backpacks when you visit the Duomo in Florence. Small bags and purses are allowed, but you’ll need to leave the larger backpacks behind at your accommodation (or luggage storage facility).

When to Arrive and Which Sites to Visit

Don’t rush your visit. And please be patient. It will take some time to get to the top of the cupola. You want to have enough time to admire the artwork, the architecture, and the view. I don’t suggest trying to book all of these attractions in the same day. It will all become a blur at some point!

Don’t arrive any more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment as there won’t be any line-up (but you won’t be allowed in early). And you aren’t able to show up late. Any longer than 5 minutes later than your scheduled appointment and you could forfeit your ticket.

When we visited, we only checked out the Duomo. If you plan to visit the Bell Tower, don’t visit on the same day as the Duomo. That will be way too much climbing in one day and you’ll see two similar attractions. I suggest visiting the Cathedral on one day, and choosing the other attractions for another day.

Other Important Tips You Need to Know

There are lots of great restaurants near the Duomo in Florence. Here are my favourite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Florence (many are within walking distance of the Duomo) and here are the best gelato establishments in Florence .

For short term stays in Florence, we loved staying at La Farina Apartments , about a 20 minute walk from the Duomo. In case you want to explore other parts of Florence and decide to stay longer in the city, there is a wide selection of accommodation options available in Florence .

Wondering how to get to Florence? We love traveling by train in Europe, and it’s really easy to reach Florence by train from many major cities around the continent. We reached Florence by train from Venice, and it was a very comfortable journey.

More Florence Blog Posts

Justin and I absolutely loved traveling to Florence, so we have lots of great Florence travel blog articles. Here are even more blog posts in addition to the ones that I’ve already mentioned that you may find useful:

  • From Florence to Pisa: Take a Half Day Trip to Pisa
  • Michaelangelo’s David at Accademia Gallery in Florence
  • 5 e Cinque Vegetarian Restaurant in Florence
  • Libreria Brac Restaurant in Florence
  • Kunnubio Restaurant in Florence
  • Discover Tuscany With Florencetown (Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti)
  • 25 Best Movies About Italy You Need to Watch

The definitive guide to visiting the Duomo Florence, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Practical advice to plan your trip to the Duomo.

Lauren is the full-time travel blogger and content creator behind Justin Plus Lauren. She started Justin Plus Lauren in 2013 and has travelled to 50+ countries around the world. Lauren is an expert on vegan travel as one of the very first vegan travel bloggers. She also focuses on outdoor adventure travel, eco and sustainable travel, and creating amazing travel itineraries for cities and small towns.

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

You may want to check the meaning of the word duomo. The Duomo in Florence is the cathedral, not the dome.

Thanks for reading my article, Carole. I hope that it helps you plan your trip to Florence! I put a lot of time into the research of this article and loved visiting myself. I hope you have the opportunity to go there, too.

The Travel 2

Friday 24th of August 2018

First thing I thought when I read the blog's title was 'Duh... It's FLORENCE's cathedral. You just have to visit!'... then I saw the photos and everything made even more sense. Cool blog post guys! :)

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Yes! There might be the temptation to gaze at it from the outside but not to actually buy tickets and enter the building. It isn't something that should be skipped as it's fabulous inside and out!

Tuesday 19th of September 2017

Duomo offers a great history there a lot to learn. Florence is a brilliantly sentimental Renaissance city, with hundreds of years of wonderful engineering every step of the way, never neglecting to motivate. One thing you can’t miss is the complex of structures in the Piazza del Duomo, including the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its wonderful arch offering far reaching perspectives of the city, the Campanile Bell Tower, and the Baptistry of St John with its broadly luxurious cut bronze entryways. Obviously there are numerous historical centers and exhibitions. You can’t leave without seeing Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Academia. The San Lorenzo and Little Piggy markets are incredible for shopping and you can unwind in one of Florence’s many parks. Tuscany appreciates an exceptionally hot atmosphere, so for a break from city touring why not go to the shoreline at Viareggio, which is open in less than one and a half hours via auto or prepare. The Crocodile Water Park in Arezzo offers heaps of fun with slides and whirlpools.

Tuesday 4th of April 2017

We have put together a page that talks in detail about the duomo of Florence, it's history and architecture and also a video about how it was made.

I hope your readers find this helpful

Monday 20th of March 2017

Ah didnt know there were this beautiful church! Sadly I skipped Florence on my way in Italy. Will come back again for this. Thanks for sharing!

Laura Dolci Travels

Travel Deeper Through Hidden Gems

Destination Tips , Destinations , Hidden Gems , Italy · November 24, 2023

How To Visit The Florence Duomo: 15 ESSENTIAL Tips

Visiting the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially if you love Renaissance. Famously nicknamed the Florence Duomo or Florence Cathedral, this is the third-largest church in the world. Nothing short of a Renaissance masterpiece, this wonder is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Historic Centre of Florence, Italy.

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore dates back to the late 13th century, with its construction ending in the early 15th century. Why is the Florence Cathedral famous? There simply isn’t anything else quite like it. The façade, for starters, is personally one of the most breathtaking works of art. When you visit the Duomo, you will understand.😍

If you are planning to visit the Florence Duomo, this is important information! Keep reading to discover the ESSENTIAL tips for visiting the Florence Duomo and everything you need to know!

Disclaimer : This post has  affiliate links  that can help me earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. If you click through and purchase with these links, thank you in advance for the extra support .💖😊

Table of Contents

Here are the 15 Essential Florence Duomo Visit Tips👇

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral). Close-up shot under a light blue sky. Green and Red details in Renaissance Architecture.

1. Know the Different Parts That Make Up the Florence Duomo

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is made up of several parts: the Brunelleschi Dome, the Cathedral, the Belltower of Giotto, and the Baptistery of St. John.

  • The Cathedral – This is the area that has free entrance. The Cathedral allows you to see the marvelous Brunelleschi Dome’s ceiling.
  • The Brunelleschi Dome – This ticket allows you to go to the top of the Dome and see the work of art from up close, and beautiful views over Florence. As wonderful as that sounds, it is not for the faint of heart. To get up there, there is a stair of 463 steps. *Que “It’s the Climb” by Hannah Montana*. As mentioned above, you can see the spectacular Dome from inside the Cathedral for FREE (these are the views).👇😍
  • The Giotto’s Belltower – Similarly to the Brunelleschi Dome, the Giotto’s Belltower offers beautiful views over Florence, for the “easy-breezy” price of 413 steps. 👇
  • The Baptistery of St. John – This is an octagonal masterpiece, adorned with intricate marble panels, gold, and a beautiful dome. This baptistery is dedicated to St. John, the patron saint of the city. 👇

Brunelleschi's Dome's art from up close. Endless Renaissance frescos with angels and biblical characters.

2. Do You Need to Book in Advance?

If you’re planning to climb the Brunelleschi Dome… YES YOU DO!

With millions of visitors each year, buying tickets in advance for the Brunelleschi Dome is simply a must . Especially if you’re planning to visit in the summer, you may need to book at least 2 months in advance – even three!

The Belltower of Giotto and the Baptistery of St. John do not need as much of an advanced booking. However, if you are planning to visit every site you may as well get a bundle pass!

How to buy the Duomo tickets

The best way to buy the entry tickets is directly on the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore site , which offers 3 different passes. By getting your entry ticket bundles directly, you will get the best deal. If you are looking to climb the Dome, the Brunelleschi Pass is the pass for you!

However, if you are interested in tickets that offer skip-the-line, or guided tours, the best way is through Get Your Guide’s experiences. Check out these highly-rated experiences and see which one is the best for you!👇

3. Best Time to Visit the Florence Cathedral

The Florence Duomo opens at 10:15. The best time to line up is at 9:45 , 30 minutes before the doors open. At 9:45 there will already be a line of people, but it goes by quickly when the doors open and is nothing compared to the lines later in the day.

If you line up later in the day, the longer lines will not be the only cons. The additional consequence will be the sun hitting right above you, something no one wants.

4. What is the Dress Code for the Duomo?

Women and girls need to follow the Florence Cathedral’s dress code, or they will not be allowed to enter. The dress code does not allow crop tops, short skirts, or sleeve-less/shoulder-showing tops.

If you visit Florence during the summer, don’t worry! As long as you have a large scarf to cover yourself with, you will be allowed to enter. If you forget the scarf, there are various stores and stands that sell them for cheap.

Stand selling scarves and cover ups in Florence, Italy. People walking and purchasing cover ups to enter the Florence Duomo

5. Bring a Fully Charged Phone/Camera

It’s not a possibility… it’s a fact that you will be taking an infinite amount of pictures and videos – trust me.📸 Make sure your phone and/or camera are fully charged. If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend purchasing a Belkin power bank and bringing it with you (fully charged). Power banks are a traveler’s best friend.

6. Wear Comfy Shoes

This can serve as a general tip for traveling in Florence, but PLEASE… make sure to wear comfy shoes if you are visiting the Brunelleschi Dome and the Belltower of Giotto. The two sites have well over 400 steps to climb – making it crucial to stay comfy and have closed-toe shoes.

7. Eat Well and Hydrate Before Your Visit

As mentioned above, the Brunelleschi Dome and the Belltower of Giotto involve A LOT of physical work. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat well before your visit, this will allow you to enjoy the sites to their fullest. Where should you have breakfast? Ala Grande Café or Shake Café. 8 minutes away from the Duomo, Ala Grande Caffè is the perfect spot for a hearty breakfast and delicious drinks. Here you will find everything from pancakes to omelets and pastries. If you prefer smoothies and juices, Shake Café is the perfect place for you!

If you are visiting the Florence Duomo complex later in the day, here are the must-eats of Florence Food ! Are you planning to climb the tower or the dome? If you are, I recommend eating something not too hearty, as you want to avoid feeling sick! Some great options for lunch, pre-400-stairs, are the Lampredotto , Schiacciata , and Pappardelle !

If you are not planning to climb the Brunelleschi Dome or the Giotto’s Belltower, the (lunch) world is your oyster!

8. Learn About the Duomo Before Your Visit

By learning about the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore before visiting, you will be able to appreciate the wonder that it is even more. This cathedral is the third-largest church in the world, and its construction began in the late 13th century.

The iconic dome, by Filippo Brunelleschi, is the largest masonry dome in the world – but that’s the least interesting thing about it. The Brunelleschi Dome is a wonder for many reasons. For starters, Filippo Brunelleschi had no architectural training. Second, he won the contest to become the Dome’s architect by impressing the judges with a seemingly simple gesture… making an egg stand upright on a table .😅

This fact will either blow your mind when you see the Dome or will make you rethink your tickets. Let me know in the comments how you feel about it.😂

9. Slow down and take it all in

My most important advice for visiting the Duomo and for traveling in general: SLOW DOWN AND TAKE IT ALL IN! It happens to the best of us to mainly focus on seeing everything and doing so at a fast pace. Instead of simply taking pictures and moving on – take a moment to be off your phone and simply wonder. Look at the TINY details, that make up the magical big picture. The small details will give you a deeper appreciation of the Italian’s stupendous Renaissance architecture.

10. Bring Your Documents!

Always bring some form of documentation with you. For the Florence Duomo Complex, international visitors are required to provide their visa and passport details.

11. Explore the rest of the city for context

The Florence Duomo is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Centre of Florence. Walk around the historic center to take in all of Florence’s magic and absurdly beautiful Renaissance architecture.

12. Guide or No Guide: Can you visit without a guide?

To get a guide, or to not get a guide… That is the question. The answer will be based on what you want to get out of the experience. Here are the options you have:

Visit the Without a Guide   – If you want to focus more on the small details and simply wander around – this is the best option for you. Note: This is why I wrote Tip #8 – I think it’s important to learn about the Cathedral pre-visit for a deeper appreciation but is not necessary to have an audio guide throughout the visit. Get yourself the dream entry ticket – fast-track! 👇

If you are not interested in a skip-the-line, get your tickets directly here .

Private Florence Duomo Tour  – This is the perfect option if you want to have a one-on-one/small group tour, where you can ask all your questions. Here is a highly-rated Get Your Guide experience that includes skip-the-line tickets.

Group Tour  – This is a great option if you want a more economical tour and the opportunity to meet other people. Check out this highly-rated group tour!👇

13. Make the Florence Duomo the Event of the Day

If you are planning to visit all, or most, of the sites of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, make this the day’s main event. Why? Because it will be a physically draining experience, but a wonderful one nonetheless. I recommend spending the morning exploring the Florence Duomo complex and spending the rest of the day strolling around the city. By doing so, you will be able to take everything in and appreciate all the sites you’ve visited.

14. Put your Patience Pants on

Depending on the time of the day, you may find some longer lines – especially for the Cathedral as it has free entrance. Aside from the long lines, there could be many people – most of whom will want to get their perfect pictures. In addition, if you are climbing the Dome or the Belltower of Giotto, it will be easy to feel tired and impatient with all the stairs. Long story short, things may get overwhelming – so make sure to remind yourself to be patient and be present!❤️

15. How to get to the Florence Duomo & Correct Entrance

The Florence Cathedral is a short, 10-minute walk from the Santa Maria Novella train station. While the Cathedral is easy to get to, it’s important for you to know that depending on the site you are seeing, you will be lining up at different entrances! When you have your tickets, make sure to read all the instructions they provide you with.

Florence Duomo FAQs

Are backpacks allowed in the duomo florence.

If you’re climbing the Brunelleschi Dome or the Bell Tower, you will need to place your backpack in a luggage storage. If you’re visiting the Cathedral, you should have no problems with a backpack.

Want more help with your travels? Check out my services!

One of the main reasons I became I travel blogger is my love and passion for helping others experience the best of their destination. I offer three services on Thatch:  Customized Itineraries ,  Customized Recommendations , and  Consultation Calls .

If you want extra help on your Florence, or Italy travels, check out  my Thatch page  and book my services!

Learn More About Florence

To prepare further for your upcoming Florence travels, check out these blog posts!👇

  • One day in Florence Itinerary
  • Two days in Florence Itinerary
  • Florence Food: All the Must-Eats and Everything to Know
  • Day Trip from Florence to Pisa: Everything You Need to Know

I have to ask…

Which of these tips did you find most helpful, or surprising? Let me know in the comments!

If you found this blog post helpful, please  SHARE  this with friends and family who may find this helpful.

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Florence Duomo - How To Visit The Cathedral Of Florence

Alessandro profile pic round

By Alessandro Bisceglie

August 29, 2023

The Florence Duomo complex is one of the most visited places anywhere in Italy, made up of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, Giotto's bell tower , the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Opera del Duomo museum.

florence cathedral

While the word 'Duomo' refers to the whole complex in the Piazza del Duomo, people generally use the word to refer to the Florence cathedral, so let's dive in to discover more!

Visiting the Florence Duomo - Everything you need to know

Florence is like a book that talks about beauty.

The book has been given to us and it is up to us to share it with those visiting this incredibly beautiful city.

And the opening chapter of the book cannot fail to be the Duomo di Firenze.

view of duomo with wisteria

The cathedral of Florence is one of the focal points of the city, attracting millions of visitors each year as well as being an active place of worship.

While you can, and should, combine your visit to the Florence cathedral with the other sites in the Duomo complex like the Museum Opera del Duomo and Giotto's Campanile, on this page we'll be focusing specifically on the cathedral, including:

  • A brief history of the Florence cathedral
  • The architecture of the cathedral of Florence
  • Special things to see inside the Florence Duomo

How to see Brunelleschi's dome up close

  • Opening hours and mass times
  • Where the cathedral of Florence is located and ticket information

A brief history of the Florence Duomo

The original church in piazza duomo.

The location of the magnificent cathedral has been important to Florence for centuries.

In the early 5th century a church was built in this spot and was dedicated to Santa Reparata, who is a co-patron saint of Florence.

As one of the earliest Christian churches in Tuscany, the Basilica di Santa Reparata became the central place of worship in the area, especially with the Baptistery being right next door.

santa reparata

The original church was relatively small, and despite being rebuilt and enlarged after being damaged in the 9th century, by the late 1200's it was clear that the church was no longer fit for public use.

A new cathedral for a new age

Florence in the 13th century was rapidly expanding.

It was becoming the home of banking in Europe and attracting lots of people to the city, which resulted in a great deal of building.

As part of the updates to the city, it was decided that the former cathedral of Santa Reparata would be largely demolished, and incorporated into a brand new, grand cathedral to be built in its place.

florence duomo complex

The original architect was Arnolfo di Cambio, who also designed Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria .

Work was started in 1296.

After he died a few years later, work ground to a halt, but started up again in the 1330's when the famous artist Giotto was appointed to oversee the building project.

Giotto continued to work on the cathedral, as well as building the tall bell tower nearby, until his death in 1337.

Andrea Pisano, one of Giotto's top apprentices had been assisting Giotto with his work.

He continued to oversee the construction project.

Work continued for another forty years before the main structure was complete, but there was still no dome.

No architect could work out how to build the dome that Arnolfo di Cambio's design had included!

Final touches

A different dome design had been created by Neri di Fioravanti as the main church was being finished off, but despite it being a more elegant-looking structure, the technical requirements were beyond the techniques of the time.

In 1418 a competition was announced to find someone who could solve the problem and build Neri's dome.

After a fierce debate, Filippo Brunelleschi, a master goldmsith, was chosen as the architect of the dome, but the creation of such an awesome feat was still far from assured.

brunelleschi's dome model in museum of the duomo

Unreinforced domes hadn't been built since the time of the ancient Romans, with Brunelleschi looking to the Pantheon in Rome for inspiration.

He had to come up with new techniques for each stage of the dome build, researching and building models at every step to make sure his plans would work.

The final results were simply astounding.

view of santa maria del fiore from torre di arnolfo

The top of the dome reaches up into the sky, dwarfing everything around it.

Even today the red terracotta tiled dome is iconic, standing out in the center of the city, in the skylight of Florence, like a mountain built by man.

At the time of its completion, the Duomo of Florence was the largest church in Christianity and the largest covered structure in the world.

It is still the third largest church in the world after St Peter's Basilica in Rome and St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Take a look at these pages to find out how to make the most of your time in Florence:

The architecture of the Florence cathedral

The Duomo of Florence is a sumptuous building, with two centuries of construction history, countless updates and new designs.

You can think of it as a sort of Pandora's box of unimaginable value!

Cathedral Façade

façade of the duomo

Arnolfo di Cambio included a façade in his original design for the Florence cathedral but he only managed to complete the lower level before he died.

The lead architects, Giotto and Andrea Pisano, who took over after his death, were busy with the task of designing Giotto's bell tower and continuing the internal parts of the cathedral, and the façade slipped down the list of importance, remaining unfinished.

By the end of the 16th century the plain, incomplete façade appeared outdated and out of sync with the other grand buildings around it.

This caused a lot of problems for the standards of beauty and elegance requested by the Medici family, so over time they invested large amounts of money to have the façade updated.

The medieval façade was removed but the planned replacement never got completed due to disagreements over money and about how it should look.

The stunning marble façade we admire today, with its alternating red, green and white pattern, was only completed in 1871.

Cathedral doors

As part of the new façade in the 1800's, three bronze doors were installed to replace the original ancient doors, which were moved and installed in the nearby church of Santa Croce.

The cathedral door that most caught my interest during my early visits to the Duomo was the one to the right, also known as the Door of the Campanile.

The young and unknown artist appointed to carry out the work, Giuseppe Cassioli, immediately faced problems as soon as he started working on his design.

There was tremendous pressure and high expectations on all the artists commissioned with working on the cathedral doors to meet the standards set by the masterpiece completed by Lorenzo Ghiberti masterpiece on the east door of the baptistery known as the Paradise, located right in front of Cassioli's door.

Florence cathedral in winter - no line

The young artist became discouraged, with his work being harshly judged by critics, and in dire economic straits.

So Cassioli decided to go with an irreverent iconography that best described his state of mind at the end of his assignment: a self-portrait bas relief, a figurine of his head sticking out on the upper right side of the door with a snake wrapped around his neck, as an emblem of the oppression he suffered and his economic downfall.

The oldest of the three doors in the façade is the central door.

Completed in the year 1882 by the sculptor Augusto Passaglia, whose skills (and political favors) were also put to use for the construction of the left door on the façade.

No matter when you visit Florence, here are four things never to leave at home:

best time to visit duomo florence

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What to see inside the Florence cathedral

As soon as you walk through the atrium, the basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore reveals its simple but grand interior.

There are three naves inside the cathedral, with soaring Gothic arches supported by mighty pillars.

The inside of the Florence cathedral is quite stark in comparison to other Italian churches, with some of the decorations moved to the Opera del Duomo museum and others moved to different churches.

Hall of the Duomo

However the relatively empty halls, with stained glass windows highlighting the main nave that reaches up to the huge dome above, invoke a sense of wonder that the early architects fully intended you to feel.

Among the many marvels that you will discover by visiting the Duomo, we must mention the astonishing floor of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This is an incredible polychrome marble creation that required years of work, a lot of money and a large number of workers to perfect.

Despite more than five centuries having passed, the floor is miraculously still in perfect condition.

duomo floor as seen from dome

This project required more than a century of work, high costs and an infinite number of workers and artisans, but its magnificence outweighed the deed.

The flooring you see today is still the original.

While your eyes will naturally be drawn up to the dome, be sure to look down as you walk around the cathedral to fully appreciate the complexity, richness, and beauty of this marble floor!

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The works of art

The pieces of art and decoration that remain in the Florence cathedral are definitely worth seeing.

During your visit make sure to see the huge clock with frescoes by Paolo Uccello above the main door, which dates from the 15th century and still tells the time.

Clock on the wall of Duomo

Paolo Uccello also painted huge equestrian fresco portraits which are amazingly detailed, and you can also get up close with a celebratory portrait of Dante Alighieri painted by Domenico Di Michelino.

There are many statues of various saints important to Florence, and much more to see before you reach the dome, which is itself a huge piece of art.

The fresco that occupies the entire dome interior depicts the Last Judgment.

It was painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari in the 16th century.

Ready to plan your trip?

The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was a masterpiece of will and ingenuity, with the man in charge of this unique and ambitious plan destined to become one of the most famous architects of all time: Filippo Brunelleschi.

The dome was such a fitting finish for the building it crowns, familiar and dignified.

Yet it still seems unbelievable how such design and engineering came to be devised so early in time, anticipating the Renaissance architectural standards soon to be developed.

duomo dome inside closeup

If you go to Rome after visiting Florence , you should definitely visit the Pantheon .

You will be amazed by the similarities of the interior architecture with the Florence cathedral!

You can climb up to the dome, making your way through the narrow corridors that were used by workers at various stages of the cathedral's construction.

There is no elevator, so you need to be prepared to walk up 463 steps and be comfortable with tight spaces.

I would not recommend doing this climb if you are claustrophobic .

best time to visit duomo florence

If you climb the dome, the first level you’ll stop at is the ledge of the Last Judgment, which gives you a jaw-dropping view of the 38,000 sq ft frescoed dome interior.

Once you have walked around this ledge, keep climbing up through the inner shell and you will reach the very top of the dome.

While the cathedral itself is free to enter, in order to climb the dome you need a specific ticket and to book an entrance time slot.

There is a dedicated entrance at the Porta della Mandorla specifically for visitors climbing the dome.

Cathedral opening hours and mass times

Florence cathedral opening times.

Monday-Saturday: 10:15am-3:45pm

Closed on Sundays and religious holidays

Dome Climb opening times

  • Monday-Friday: 8:15am-7:30pm
  • Saturdays: 8:15am-5:15pm
  • Sundays: 12:45pm-5:15pm

Closed on religious holidays.

You may enter outside of the visitor hours noted above to attend a mass, which are held daily at:

  • 8am - Office of Morning Readings and Lauds
  • 8:30am - Capitular Holy Mass
  • 10am - Santa Mass
  • 5:30pm - Rosary
  • 6pm - Santa Mass

On religious holidays the mass schedule changes, check out the official website of the cathedral for all the details.

best time to visit duomo florence

Florence cathedral location and how to visit

Located slightly north of Ponte Vecchio, you can reach the Duomo in a short walk from pretty much anywhere in the historic heart of the city .

The cathedral is the soul of the monumental complex of the square, from which it takes its name, Piazza del Duomo.

Piazza del Duomo

Ticket information

As noted above, the cathedral is free to enter so you do not need to book entrance tickets or try to find a ticket office nearby.

The Duomo is one of Florence's top attractions so the queues for entering the cathedral can be long, especially during high season.

The best way to beat the queues is to arrive early, ready for when the doors open, but generally the lines move fairly quickly.

For a more in-depth experience that allows you to escape the worst of the crowds, how about booking this VIP tour which gets you into the Accademia Gallery early before whisking you up to climb the dome, including exclusive access to the cathedral terrace!

Tickets are needed to visit the rest of the Duomo complex , including Giotto's bell tower, the Baptistery and museum, and then are three options to choose from.

The three passes are called the Ghiberti Pass , the Giotto Pass and the Brunelleschi Pass , which include access to different parts of the complex.

If you wish to climb the dome, you need to purchase the Brunelleschi Pass , which is the only one of the three options to include this ticket.

You can also book a guided tour of the Duomo if you would like to have a more in-depth explanation of what you are seeing at the cathedral.

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  • Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral) Travel Guide
  • Italy Travel Guide
  • Florence Travel Guide

Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral Church - Duomo di Firenze

The Duomo, or the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is an iconic and well-loved landmark in Florence, Italy. But it’s more than just one of the largest churches in the world. Built over the remains of the 4th century-era Cathedral of Santa Reparata, the church has a rich history.

Every Sunday, amidst the awe-inspiring architecture of the Duomo, locals and visitors gather for mass, enveloping themselves in the spiritual ambiance of this magnificent structure. For “Duomo Florence mass times Sunday,” please inquire within the cathedral or consult the local parish.

Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze) Tickets are your gateway to exploring this historical marvel. The whole complex in its current form traces its origin to 1294. It was originally borne from a desire to catch up with the magnificent cathedrals of Siena and Pisa. To do this, designer Arnolfo di Cambio wanted to create the largest Catholic Church in the world.

However, it would take until 1296 for actual construction to begin on the chosen site. And unfortunately, di Cambio died before the project was completed. So the reins of the project were turned over to famed Renaissance artist Giotto, who lent his name to one of the church’s bell towers. But the church would still not be finished during his lifetime. After Giotto passed away in 1337, the project was then passed on to a series of architects.

Wonderful sky colors in Piazza del Duomo - Firenze

It would take until 1380 to finish the nave or central aisle. By 1418, only the dome would remain unfinished. Finally, a dome design by Filippo Brunelleschi would finally mark the church’s completion in 1436—nearly two hundred years after the first stone was set. The cathedral was then consecrated within a year by Pope Eugenius IV, dedicating it to Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flowers). But this would not be the end of the church’s story.

In 1587, the church’s Renaissance-era façade was ordered dismantled by Duke Francisco I de Medici as a result of changing artistic tastes. It would be left plain and bare up until the 19th century. A new design by the architect Emilio De Fabris was later implemented and completed in 1887. This gave the cathedral much of the look that we now recognize it for. All that was left was the cathedral’s famous bronze doors, installed from 1899 to 1903.

To this day, the Duomo remains an active place of worship as well as a tourist hotspot in the heart of Florence. Get your Premium Entrance and Skip The Line tickets here . For other Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze) tickets, click here .

While skip-the-line tickets can be a great way to save time, especially during peak season, keep in mind that the main cathedral floor is free to enter. You’ll just need to wait in line for security checks.

What to See

The dome itself is an architectural and engineering marvel. During the time of the church’s construction, builders have yet to figure out a way to construct a dome without the heavy supports usually employed in medieval structures. This made it one of the most ambitious projects of its time. Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, Brunelleschi utilized a girdle-like support structure and developed new building technologies to finally finish the church. The result is a truly magnificent structure and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the skyline of Florence.

Florence Cathedral Exteriors

But the dome isn’t the only thing remarkable about the church. You can also appreciate the structure’s fresco-covered interiors. These were painted by other Late Renaissance artists Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. The most famous of these frescoes is that of The Last Judgment, which can be best appreciated by taking the climb up to the cupola for a closer view. To get the best full experience of Florence, consider booking a guided tour that includes a visit to the Duomo and other iconic landmarks.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto's Bell Tower - Florence Cathedral

Meanwhile, various reliefs and sculptures can be found on the exterior of the bell tower. These tell the stories of the creation of man and woman. They also highlight various activities and professions such as sheep-herding, music, metallurgy, weaving, and wine-making. Images that depict astrology, engineering, and other scientific endeavors can also be spotted across the campanile’s exterior.

Additional images include that of the then-seven known planets. These are then matched with the cardinal virtues, the theological virtues, various liberal arts, and the seven sacraments. There are also niches which house the statues of various characters such as the Kings of Israel, pagan priestesses, prophets, and patriarchs. To explore the rich symbolism and history depicted in these images, buy a ticket here .

Views from the Top

Though difficult to reach, the top floor of the bell tower will reward visitors with fantastic panoramas of the city Florence. The sight is more than enough to make the climb well worth the effort.

The Florence Baptistery (Baptistery of St. John)

The Baptistery is a smaller, separate building within church grounds that was constructed more than two centuries before the main basilica itself. Octagonal in shape, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city and is recognized as a minor basilica. Since its construction, many figures of Renaissance-era Florence were baptized here. This included members of the Medici family as well as the poet Dante Alighieri. It is also best-known for its three sets of bronze doors which are decorated by a variety of relief sculptures. The north and east doors were created by Lorenzo Ghiberti, while the south doors are credited to Andrea Pisano.

Get your skip-the-line ticket here .

Museum of the Works of the Cathedral ( Museo dell’Opera del Duomo )

This is where many of the church’s decorations have been moved for the sake of their preservation. Its collectio

n includes a variety of artworks and other artifacts, from paintings and miniatures to entire pulpits. Of particular interest in this collection is the famous sculpture of the Pietà by Michelangelo.

Florence Cathedral Interiors

While the Duomo’s architectural details may not be as ornate as its other counterparts, it makes up for in its collection of notable artworks. These honor the prominent citizens and leaders of the city of Florence. Amid the many sculptures, paintings, and frescoes, of particular interest are:

  • The cathedral’s 44 stained glass windows , which were part of a project that was considered as the largest of its time in Italy. It mainly features saints and figures from the Old and New Testaments. The windows are the collective work of some of Florence’s greatest artists. They include Andrea del Castagno, Paolo Uccello, Donatello, and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Meanwhile, the drum of the dome’s cathedral features circular windows designed by Gaddo Gaddi that show Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
  • Right above the main door is the famous clock face that was painted by Paolo Uccello. It features the frescoes of the four Evangelists of the New Testament. But why is this fully functional clock only have one hand? This is because it is a liturgical clock shows the 24 hours of the hora italica (Italian time), which resets every sunset. It was broadly used as a measure of time until the 18th century.
  • The collection of 15th and 16th-century busts . These include one of Giotto by Benedetto da Maiano, one of Brunelleschi by Buggiano, as well as busts of Marsilio Ficino and the famous organist Antonio Squarcialupi.
  • The fresco “ Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood,” which was painted by Paolo Uccello. It celebrates the English mercenary hero Sir John Hawkwood, who fought in various wars for Florence. The artwork was later transferred to canvas in the 19 th
  • The 15th century painting “ Dante Before the City of Florence” by Domenico di Michelino. This fascinating work of art features scenes from the Divine Comedy interspersed with beautiful scenes of the city of Florence.
  • The Altar of Saint Zenobius which houses the urn and relics of the first bishop of Florence. Its bronze shrine was crafted by Ghiberti around 1440. Meanwhile, above the shrine is a painting of the Last Supper by Giovanni Balducci.
  • A painting of the “ Equestrian Statue of Niccolò da Tolentino” by Andrea del Castagno. Similar to Uccello’s earlier fresco of John Hawkwood, this painting was also later transferred onto canvas. However, this fresco is painted in a more richly-decorated manner, giving the impression of movement.

Santa Reparata Crypt

During the 1960s and 1970s, the cathedral grounds were subject to several excavations. These unearthed the subterranean vaults that were used for the burial of prominent Florentine citizens, politicians, and clergy.

Among the artifacts found were remnants of streets dating back to early Christian times and the remains of Roman houses. Interestingly, the ruins of the former Cathedral of Santa Reparata were also found, along with its crypts. Archeologists even found the tomb of the architect Brunelleschi himself.

Other notable burials include those of Giovanni Benelli, Giotto di Bondone, Saint Zenobius of Florence, John Hawkwood, Pope Nicholas II, and Pope Stephen IX.

Tips and Advice

  • Though admission to the cathedral itself is free, there is a fee of EUR 3 to visit the crypt, EUR 8 for the dome, and EUR 8 for the tower. For guided visits, admission is EUR 9 for the Duomo, EUR 11 for the dome (entrance fee included), EUR 9 for the crypt (entrance fee included), and EUR 15 for the terrace (dome included). The guided tours take about an hour on average.
  • There is also a ticket being sold for EUR 10 that allows you to visit all the sights within the Duomo group of attractions. This includes the Galleria dell’Opera del Duomo, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, the Baptistery of St. John, and Giotto’s Bell Tower. But take note that the ticket must be used within six days and once you use it, you have 24 hours to visit all the attractions. This means that if you visit just one or two in a day, you will have to purchase new tickets for the next day.
  • Touring all the areas of the Duomo can be tiring. This is especially true for the bell tower. If you don’t think you’ll have the energy to make your rounds in a single day, it may be better for you to purchase tickets to each attraction separately.

Facade of the Duomo di Firenze - Florence Cathedral

  • The schedule of the Duomo and its attractions are as follows: Church – Mondays to Fridays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Thursdays. From November to April, it closes at 4:30 pm on Thursdays; from May to October, it closes at 4:00 pm.On weekends, it is open on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:45 pm. On Sundays, it opens after lunch at 1:30 pm and closes at 4:45 pm. It is possible to enter the premises right before closing. Cupola/Brunelleschi’s dome – Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. On Saturdays, from 8:30 am to 5:40 pm. It is closed to the public on Sundays. Last entry is at 40 minutes before closing. Santa Reparata Crypt – It is open during the same hours as the church, but is also closed off on Sundays. Last entry is at 30 minutes before closing. St John’s Baptistery – It opens at 11:15 am and closes at the same time as the church, except on Sundays when it opens at 8:30 am and closes at 2:00 pm.
  • For those who wish to attend mass, the schedules are as follows: Sundays – 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am (the mass will be in Gregorian chant), 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm. Vespers with chants are also held at 5:30 pm. Mondays to Saturdays – 8:30 am, 10:00 am, and 6:00 pm. On Saturdays, masses in English are held at 5:00 pm in the church. The venue of the mass is moved to the Misericordia on Piazza Duomo on every first Saturday of the month.
  • If you plan to visit Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower, wear comfortable shoes and be ready for an intense workout. There are 463 steps to the top of the dome, while there are 414 to go up the bell tower. Each attraction might take you about an hour to reach the top. The best times to climb these structures would be either early in the morning or late in the day when it’s not too hot.
  • IMPORTANT HEALTH WARNING: Unfortunately, accessibility to the dome and the bell tower will be an issue for persons with disabilities. As old structures, neither of these attractions have elevators or lifts. There are also balconies along the way that may cause panic for those who have a fear of heights. Going up the stairs, there are also points where the stairway become very narrow, possibly causing problems for people with claustrophobia. People who have had a recent operation and those with vertigo or heart problems are also discouraged from attempting to visit these attractions.
  • Lastly, remember that the place is still an active place of worship. Make sure to dress appropriately and keep your voice down to avoid disturbing any worshippers.

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How to Plan Your Visit to the Duomo Complex in Florence, Italy

Duomo in Florence Italy with text overlay

Planning on climbing the Duomo in Florence? Read on for a step-by-step guide!

I finally had the chance to cross off one of my bucket list destinations: Florence in Italy ! It was about bloody time, seeing as it is my namesake city, and it was everything I had imagined and more. Its history as a cultural, economic and political center cemented its position as a flourishing and well-to-do city in Europe, and the preservation of its monuments has been incredible.

From the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio to Uffuzi Gallery and Gallerie Dell’Accademia, almost every structure has been painstakingly and delicately restored and maintained; with a few exceptions ( Uffuzi Gallery! *shakes fist* ), the visiting process is streamlined and efficient, enabling visitors to Florence to truly enjoy their trip and take in the sights without wanting to yank all their hair out.

Duomo Cupola in Florence Italy

The panoramic skyline of Florence is not complete without the famous Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Brunelleschi’s Dome, but the Duomo is only one monument within the greater complex housed within Piazza del Duomo and Piazza San Giovanni. These monuments in the UNESCO-listed historic centre of Florence date back to the 13th and 14th centuries and are a testament to the creativity and innovation from the Italian Renaissance.

The five monuments that make up the Duomo complex include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Campanile (Bell Tower), the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum. All of these monuments are unique and take time to properly explore, so the best way to plan your tour is to spread out the monuments over two (or more) days.

Don’t have a lot of time to spend in Florence? Then you’ll want to stay near the Duomo Complex – don’t worry, it’s easy to get around the city on foot! Click here for accommodation options in Florence, Italy!

Florence Duomo Complex Map

This complex is probably the most popular landmark in Florence – it goes without saying that there are often what can only be described as “hordes” of people visiting each of the monuments. I’ve now visited the Duomo complex a handful of times and climbed Brunelleschi’s Dome twice – here are some of my best tips. If you want a hassle-free visit, read on for my recommended two-day itinerary to get the most out of your time at the Duomo complex! Here’s what you need to know before visiting the Duomo in Florence .

Is it your first time to Italy? Click here for 14 things you should know before your trip!

Duomo Florence Ticket Options

Tickets for the Duomo in Florence

Option 1: This is perhaps the most critical step to ensuring an amazing and stress-free visit if you want to climb the Duomo in Florence – while it’s not 100% compulsory, it will guarantee a unique and exclusive view of Florence and the Duomo. The “ Little Peek on Florence ” tour (it is AKA the “A Glimpse of Florence” tour) is a guided tour of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, exclusive entrance into the private north Terrace (normally kept under lock and key and not open to the public! ), and allows you to skip the massive queues for the climb up to Brunelleschi’s Dome.

Line for the dome climb in Florence

Group sizes are kept small and the guide walks you through the rich history and significance of the Duomo complex – better than any for-hire audio guide, guaranteed. The tour includes access to the Brunelleschi dome so it is not necessary to book the access time separately.

Florence Italy Duomo North Terrace

The tour takes about an hour and a half and costs €33 per person (double the price of a regular ticket, but worth it – believe me). The ticket also provides one entry to each of the other monuments ( except for the Cathedral which you can re-enter as it has no admission fee ) within the Duomo complex within 48 hours of the first entry, and is usually hosted at 10:30 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from January to March, and Monday to Saturday from April to December.

Update: Unfortunately it looks like this tour is no longer running due to various reasons. You can however still book a guided tour to the Dome with priority access to the climb independently after the tour is over. This tour only runs during certain months of the year (May 31 – Oct 31 but this is subject to change) and you can book it online for €40 per adult here . This ticket will also allow you to visit the other monuments of the square (not including the terraces) on your own within 3 calendar days of the validity of the ticket. The Cathedral Terraces are currently only accessible by private guided tour (minimum 10 pax at €50 per person) and can not be booked online. You will need to contact [email protected] well in advance of your trip to schedule this private tour. The Little Peek on Florence tour has undergone several “rebrands” over the years and might be brought back into the rotation in the future – I will update this post as I know more!

Option 2: If you’re not interested in (or unable to) join the tour, you can also buy regular Florence Duomo tickets online or in person at the main ticket office at Piazza Duomo 14B. As of March 2022 there are now three new types of combined tickets to visit the monuments of the Florence Duomo: the Brunelleschi Pass which includes all the monuments for 30 Euros (Dome, Bell Tower, Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata) and only requires pre-booking of a time slot to access the Cupola; the Giotto Pass which includes all monuments except the Dome for 20 Euros (Bell Tower, Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata); and the Ghiberti Pass which includes three monuments for 15 Euros (Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata). Time slot bookings are not required for any monuments except for the Dome, and the Cathedral does not require any tickets or reservations. The Cathedral is closed to tourist visits on Sundays and religious celebrations.

I recommend scheduling your Florence Duomo climb and visit to the bell tower on 2 separate days unless you are a glutton for punishment – the stairs are no joke!

Again, you must book your Florence dome climb in advance. Once the online purchase process is complete you will pay and receive an e-mail with your tickets – print the tickets off and bring them with you.

Pre-booking your Dome climb in Florence

If you are visiting during the peak season (July to October) make sure you purchase your ticket ASAP! It is not uncommon for the Dome climb to be fully booked for days. This photo was taken on a Monday in October 2017 – slots for the Dome climb were fully booked until Thursday! Imagine if you only had 2 days in Florence and the Duomo climb was fully booked – that would be the biggest bummer. Wondering to yourself, “is climbing the Duomo worth it?” Read on for my take on why it pays off to get organized ahead of your trip.

Dress Code for the Duomo

If you’ve visited the Vatican , then you’ll know that proper attire is pretty much non-negotiable – no bare shoulders and short skirts that sit above the knees!

Bring a shawl, scarf or cardigan if you’re planning to wear a tank/spaghetti top so you can cover your shoulders as the Duomo dress code is strict and people do get turned away, especially from the Cathedral and Baptistery. Wear comfortable shoes or sandals for the Dome and Bell Tower climbs, steer clear of flip flops.

Things to Bring to the Duomo

View of Florence from the Duomo

A shawl/scarf to cover bare shoulders, a small bottle of water for the climb and your camera/smartphone.

Duomo Florence Opening Hours

Line outside the bell tower in Florence Italy

All of the monuments have different opening and closing hours and these may change on different days of the year, so it’s best to check the official website  before your visit.

It’s also best to head to the monuments well before their closing time as some don’t permit entry within a certain time frame before closing. The best time to visit the Duomo in Florence is when it opens in the morning, or right before it shuts in the afternoon.

Where to stay around the Duomo complex

Italy Florence skyline

I’ve visited Florence a handful of times and these are the hotels that I find myself coming back to. You can also click here for other highly rated hotels near the Duomo in Florence.

Hotel Calzaiuoli   is a 2 (yes, TWO!) minute walk away from the Duomo Complex. I’ve now stayed at Hotel Calziuoli a total of 3 times because the staff are extremely friendly and accommodating, rooms are bright, comfortable and spacious, and the breakfast spread was amazing. Click here to book your stay at Hotel Calzaiuoli!

La Tana Dei Leoni is an amazing guesthouse right in front of the Ponte Vecchio. It was an amazing room and great value for money – I would highly recommend this over Hotel Calzaiuoli for anyone with a slightly lower budget! Click here to book your stay at La Tana Dei Leoni!

Agnolo is a 2-bedroom apartment in the Santa Croce district of Florence. The apartment is extremely spacious and offers 2 separate bathrooms as well. The kitchen is well equipped if you want to self cater or keep some wine and food in the fridge, and the bedrooms were very comfortable. Perfect for anyone traveling as a group or with family! Click here to book your stay at Agnolo in Florence!

Planning your perfect trip to Florence? Click here for even more Italy hotel booking tips and recommendations!

What to see at the Duomo in Florence

Duomo Complex in Florence Italy

Got your Duomo tickets sorted? Great! Now it’s time to plan your visit to the monuments of the Duomo complex in Florence. Here are the key places to visit in the Duomo complex.

1. Baptistery of San Giovanni

Baptistery, Campanile and Duomo in Florence

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is the oldest building in the square, with the original structure dating back to the 4th or 5th century (though it has undergone rebuilding since then).

View of the Baptistery in Florence from above

The octagonal structure is famous for its three sets of large bronze doors with the oldest on the south side depicting the life of John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence.

Mosaic ceiling at Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence

The layout inside the Baptistery is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, and its domed ceiling is adorned with opulent gilded mosaics dating back to the 13th century.

2. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fior

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fior in Florence Italy

Head into the   Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore ,   the most famous cathedral in Florence and the third largest church in the world. It was completed in the 15th century and was built on top of an earlier cathedral.

Interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fior in Florence Italy

The entire cathedral was once open to the public, but the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore (the institution that manages the entire complex) soon realized that the marble floors were being damaged by the heavy foot traffic, and visitors were eating and drinking in the cathedral, often casually tossing their trash inside this place of worship. They therefore decided to create a boundary so that visitors could explore and walk along the walls of the cathedral but not in the heart of the cathedral.

The Last Judgment painting on the interior of the dome in Florence in Italy

Take the time to learn the history and cultural, civic and religious significance of the cathedral and the broader complex, and be regaled with stories of the construction of the cathedral, the dome, the influence and contributions of the Medici family and the attempted assassination of Lorenzo and Giuliano Medici during Sunday mass. Don’t miss the wonderfully intricate frescoes on the interior of the dome depicting the The Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari which took a total of 11 years to complete. The Cathedral is closed on Sundays.

Did you know that most tourist attractions in Italy have skip-the-line options? Click here for 14 things you should know before you go to Italy!

3. The North Terrace

North Terrace of the Duomo in Florence Italy

A little under halfway up on the way towards Brunelleschi’s Dome, there is a set of discreet steel gates to the entrance of the North Terrace . The terraces mainly served as a path for workers who were involved in the maintenance of the Cathedral, and have only been open to visitors since 1985.

North Terrace of the Duomo in Florence Italy

The terrace is not usually open to the public unless you join a guided tour which must be pre-booked in advance, and offers panoramic views across Florence as well as unobstructed views of the Dome. I can’t quite explain the feeling of being one of only a handful of people wandering along the terrace, taking in Florence’s skyline and sea of sunset-colored roof tiles – I highly recommend signing up for the guided tour to visit the “secret” Duomo terraces!

4. Brunelleschi’s Dome

Brunelleschis Dome in Florence Italy

After your tour of the North Terrace, you can continue on the long journey up to Brunelleschi’s Dome through narrow and slightly claustrophobic passageways. Is it worth climbing the Duomo in Florence? Yes! Climbing the Duomo in Florence is a must-do – the experience is unique and you are also rewarded with spectacular views across Florence.

Duomo climb in Florence Italy

There are a total of 463 steps up to the Dome but the stairways are so narrow that many areas are mostly single file, meaning you may have to power through so you don’t keep people behind you waiting, or you might have to squeeze aside and let those heading in the opposite direction pass (and use these precious moments to catch your breath).

View from Brunelleschis Dome in Florence Italy

The Duomo climb will take you anywhere from 20-40 minutes at a leisurely pace to make your way 91 metres up from ground level. The views from the Florence Duomo climb are out-of-this-world. The 360-degree, panoramic skyline will make you forget about all 463 steps you crawled up to get there.

Binoculars at the Duomo in Florence Italy

See? Once you’ve soaked in the skyline and all it has to offer, mentally prepare yourself for the walk back down (jelly legs guaranteed).

Florence Italy Duomo

What is the best time to climb the Duomo? The O.P.A has done a great job in managing the number of people who climb the Duomo at any given time (remember, reservations are mandatory) so in my humble opinion there is no real “best” time to climb the Duomo. If you’d like to catch the beginning of the sunset (during the summer months) then I’d recommend starting the climb in the late afternoon if you are not on a guided tour.

5. Opera Museum

The Opera Museum in Florence Italy

The Opera Museum re-opened in November 2015 after renovation, and features 6,000 square metres of artwork, statues and reliefs across 28 rooms.

Cupola exhibit at the Opera Museum in Florence Italy

My favorite display? The Galleria della Cupola that houses centuries-old wood models, large modern models and a mini theater playing a short documentary of the history of the Dome. Did you know that when they began construction of the Cathedral, they had no idea how they were going to complete the Dome?

Want amazing views of the Florence skyline? Click here for 8 places to go for the best views of Florence from above!

6. Giotto’s Campanile

Giottos Campanile in Florence Italy

Climbing the Duomo in Florence is a must-do, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s more to the complex and other important monuments to visit. After the Dome itself, Giotto’s Bell Tower is probably the second-most recognized monument within the complex and considered the most beautiful campanile in Italy. A mere 7 metres shorter than the Dome, there are 414 steps up to the top and also offers amazing end-to-end views of Florence.

Florence Italy Duomo Bell Tower

When you are planning your Duomo visit make sure you try to schedule your Duomo climb and entrance to the bell tower on two separate days – there’s no way I would recommend that anyone tackle both the Dome climb and Giotto’s Bell Tower in one day.

View of Duomo Cupola from Giotto's Bell Tower in Florence Italy

You might be thinking to yourself, “is it absolutely necessary to climb the Florence Dome  and the Bell Tower?” And I would say yes! Both offer unique experiences, views and are covered by your ticket. There are just a few differences between the two climbs: the Bell Tower passageways are slightly wider, less claustrophobic and less crowded, the climb up is segmented with several landings on the way up where you can stop and rest, and unlike the Dome climb that offers you views around the Dome, the Bell Tower offers you a closer look at the Dome itself.

Giottos Bell Tower in Florence Italy viewpoint

Just one small thing to note – while the view from the Bell Tower terrace is sublime, it is slightly obstructed by wall-to-wall wire frames.

The best time to climb the Bell Tower is when it opens in the morning because the lines tend to be shorter, but the Dome will be backlit in the summer months. You can also try to line up to climb the Bell Tower before it shuts if you are adamant on getting a perfectly lit shot of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

Want to know where the best viewpoints are in Florence, Italy? Read this article!

7. The Crypt

Florence Italy Duomo Crypt

Inside the Cathedral is a stairway that leads down to the excavated ruins of the ancient cathedral of Santa Reparata , the original and smaller cathedral of Florence. Said to be built in the 5th century AD, the church became unable to host the increasing number of people flocking into its halls to worship, and so the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was commissioned to be built in its place.

Florence Italy Duomo Crypt

Prego! You have visited all the amazing monuments that make up Florence’s “Duomo Complex”. I hope this guide is able to help you to plan a stress-free and enjoyable visit!

Ready to book your trip to Florence? You’ll want to stay near the Duomo Complex – don’t worry, it’s easy to get around the city on foot. Click here for accommodation options in Florence, Italy!

Where to eat and drink around the Duomo complex

La Terrazza in Florence Italy

ToscaNino (formerly known as La Terrazza) : Would you like a coffee or tea with that view? If so, this alfresco terrace is the place for you. Head into the Rinascente department store at Piazza della Repubblica and take the elevator up to the top floor for a lazy (and crowd-free) afternoon.

Trattoria Le Mossacce : a little hole-in-the-wall with delicious home-cooked Italian fare.

Wine in front of Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

Golden View Open Bar : Slightly more upscale but the view and service can’t be beat. Book ahead and ask for a balcony table for an incredible view of the Ponte Vecchio.

La Posta : Hands down the best bruschetta, penne pomodoro, ravioli rose we had in Florence (we eat almost every meal here, on every single trip). This family-owned restaurant always delivers heartwarming service and outrageously good food.

La Petite : Sister restaurant of La Posta, try their twist on the classic carbonara but with duck instead of bacon!

Casa Del Vin Santo : Beautiful pizza, delicious wine.

Mercato Centrale Florence

Mercato Centrale : Such a fun building to visit! The food court upstairs offers everything from pizza to steak to sushi, and the fresh market downstairs is extremely photogenic and a great place to pick up souvenirs.

da Garibardi : Located right next to Mercato Centrale, da Garibardi serves delicious traditional Italian fare and offers a gluten free menu as well.

La Menagere in Florence Italy

La Ménageré : A beautiful, hip coffee shop offering a wide selection of salads, pastries and sandwiches if you want something light, or a more extensive menu if you want a sit-down lunch/dinner.

Grand Hotel Cavour rooftop bar in Florence Italy

Divina Terrazza at the Grand Hotel Cavour : A beautiful rooftop bar located within a swanky hotel – come here for incredible cocktails and views of the Duomo. You must make a reservation in advance and may be asked to leave some form of photo ID with the reception desk downstairs. The reservation fee is 18 Euros per person with one drink included.

Ready to book your stay in Florence? I highly recommend Hotel Calzaiuoli , a luxury hotel in Florence just steps away from the Duomo landmarks. For something more low-key I also enjoyed our stay at La Tana Dei Leoni overlooking the Ponte Vecchio. For those traveling with family and friends look no further than Agnolo , a 2-bedroom apartment in the Santa Croce district. Click here to explore more accommodation options in Florence, Italy!

I hope you found this guide useful in helping you plan your visit to the Duomo in Florence! Don’t forget to read my other Italy-related travel guides if you’re visiting other regions in this beautiful country.

You might also like:

  • Need more inspiration to travel to Florence in Italy? Here are 30 Florence travel photos that will make you want to jump on a plane
  • Read this guide for where to find the best viewpoints in Florence
  • Pisa is a popular day trip destination and can be easily reached by train from Florence in an hour. Here’s my guide to visiting the Piazza del Duomo & Leaning Tower in Pisa
  • Siena is another UNESCO-listed city in Tuscany. Here’s my 1 day itinerary for Siena
  • Wine lovers should venture outside of Florence to visit Tuscany’s wineries. Here’s how to get a taste of Tuscany in a day
  • For even more Italy destination guides and travel tips head on over here

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I just wanted to let you know that they no longer offer the Little Peek of Florence tour. I heard back directly from the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore as well as from the tour company Weekend in Italy that also advertised the tour. You can book a tour to the terraces, but you cannot go on to the dome from there.

Thanks for letting me know! The tour seems to have gone through several “rebrands” over the years, I hope they bring it back in the future! There is still a guided Dome tour which provides priority access to continue the climb to the top. Flo

I’m traveling with my older parents, does it make sense to buy tour tickets if they are not going climb the dome?

Hi Joy, no it doesn’t make sense to buy tour tickets unless they are open to climbing midway to the North Terrace.

This is so thorough and well presented! I’m in Florence right and planning our visit to Duomo in the next few days, this was invaluable. Thanks so much.

Have a wonderful time! The hours for the dome may change during winter, so be sure to check the official website for the operating hours.

Love this post! So very helpful and informative. We will be traveling there in April, so I’m hoping it won’t be too busy/crowded yet?! Should we book our duomo combo ticket online or just wait and buy them when we are there at the ticket office? What would you recommend? Thanks so much!

Hi Lindsey! If you know your dates and don’t expect any changes in your travel plans then I would buy them ahead of time, just to be safe, especially if you want to guarantee your Duomo climb!

Hi. I wanted to know if we book the the “Peek of Florence” tour, do we have to do the Duomo and Cathedral tour on Day 1 before going to Museum and Gioto?

Hi Xandee, if I recall the tour begins at approximately 10:30 am. The bell tower opens pretty early – 8 am or so, and the museum opens at approx 9 am. So you COULD visit the museum and the campanile before the tour if you’re up early.

Thanks Flo. We wanted to climb the campanile also and take our time at the museum. Just wondering if we can do those two the day before we actually do the duomo and cathedral tour or do we have to do the tour first? For instance, can we pick up the museum and campanile tickets on Tuesday and do the other 2 attractions on that day, even if the peak in florence tour would be on a Wednesday? i hope this makes sense.

Hi Xandee, when you purchase the tour you select the date of the tour in the system, and you use this same ticket for entry into the other monuments. The ticket is valid for 6 days from the date on the ticket (date of the tour), and is valid for 48 hours once you enter the first monument.

My understanding is that you will need to do the tour first as the tickets are valid only beginning the date of your scheduled tour, but you may want to email the OPA for confirmation: [email protected]

Thanks Flo! So I emailed them and you’re right, tickets are valid on the date of tour. I found it interesting though that the person that replied to my inquiry also said that since we’re part of the tour, we DO NOT need to book the climb? Anyone done this and not book the climb? I’m just worried and want to make sure this is correct…it should be coming from them right? Also, anyone recommend a good time to climb the campanille? Thanks!

You do not need to book the climb for the Duomo, because you will climb it at the end of the tour. I visited the Campanile in the afternoon but in my experience the bell tower tends to be less crowded than the Duomo anyway!

Is the reasoning for picking up the tickets at 10am that the ticket office is not open before this time? Just curious bc I am an early riser so if I could get the tickets earlier I would probably go ahead and visit one of the sites not included in the tour beforehand.

The reasoning is because the tour starts at 10:30 am and the instructions say to pick the tickets up at least 15 minutes prior. If you’re an early riser, the baptistery, bell tower and the museum open earlier. Have fun!

OK, Thanks!

We will be visiting Florence soon. Can you visit one building, leave the complex, and return later to visit another building? We are trying to buy tickets and having a terrible time. Any hints? We are plannng to climb the Duomo and are trying to schedule a time. It has us pay, then just spins so the transaction never occurs.

Yes, you can leave and visit another building, but I believe you’re only allowed 1 entry per building. I didn’t have any issues with online payment when I bought the tickets – have you tried using another browser?

Great post. Very helpful. I will be in Florence for one day this summer (July 12). I’m just not clear on one thing. Does the Little Peek on Florence Tour include a guided tour of the Duomo only or of the other parts of the Duomo complex as well (Baptistry, Bell Tower, crypt, museum)?

Hi David, when we went on the tour it only included a guided tour of the Duomo. The rest of the complex is fairly easy to navigate on your own – ahve a great time!

Thank you for sharing! I wouldn’t have found the peek of Florence tour which is now definitely is on the list. Quick question – did you have to book the dome climb separately since the website states a reservation is required and an option didn’t come up when booking the tour? If so, how?

Hi Kevin, so glad you found this helpful! No – the dome climb is part of the tour (the guide does not join you). If you buy the regular cumulative ticket you can book a time for the Dome climb online very easily. Once you have bought your ticket you can head here to book the climb and entry into the other monuments:

As always Flo, I’m obsessed with how you outline your posts! Love it! Beautiful pictures and ahhh, I really want to visit Italy! I was just in Little Italy here in Boston and with your post, dying to go! Thanks for sharing and joining #FlyAwayFriday!

Let’s meet up in Italy, Kana! 🙂

Ugh how gorgeous!!! I absolutely loved Florence and these pictures bring back so many good memories!!! Loved all your restaurant and things to do recommendations, so many amazing options in Florence!! Thank you for sharing on #FlyAwayFriday!

Thanks to you and Kana for hosting! I’m having so much fun! 🙂

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  • Florence Attractions

Florence Cathedral

  • Santa Reparata Florence
  • Opera del Duomo Museum
  • Baptistery of St. John
  • Giotto's Bell Tower
  • Piazza del Duomo

Brunelleschi's Dome

  • Architecture
  • Duomo Rooftop
  • Plan Your Visit
  • Skip the Line Tours

Guided Tours

  • Mass schedule
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Accademia Gallery
  • Boboli Gardens
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Palazzo Pitti
  • Bargello National Museum
  • Medici Chapel
  • Florence To Chianti Tours
  • Florence To Cinque Terre Tours
  • Hzero - The Miniature Railway
  • San Marco Museum
  • Basilica of Santa Croce
  • Brancacci Chapel
  • Walking Tours
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tours

What are Florence Duomo opening hours?

Duomo Florence Timings

  • Last admission to Cathedral: 3:30 pm
  • Closed on: Sunday, Christmas Day, Other key religious holidays like the Easter

Opera Del Duomo Museum

Duomo's giotto bell tower.

  • Last admission : 1 hour before closing time
  • Closed on : Christmas, New Year's day, Easter, 8 September

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

Crypt of santa reparata, piazza del duomo florence, book duomo florence tickets, best time to visit the florence cathedral, weekday vs weekend.

  • Florence Duomo tends to be busier on weekends, especially Saturdays, when both tourists and locals visit.
  • Weekdays, particularly mid-week, are generally less crowded, providing a more relaxed experience with shorter lines and fewer tourists.

Peak season vs Low season

  • Peak season for Florence, is from April to September. During this time, the weather is pleasant, but attractions can be crowded, and prices may be higher.
  • For a more budget-friendly and less crowded experience, consider the off-season, particularly in early April or late September.
  • Winter months, from November to March, offer fewer tourists, lower prices, but cooler temperatures. Each season has its charm, and choosing depends on preferences for weather, budget, and crowd levels.

Duomo Florence opening hours

Brunelleschi's Dome

Monday - Friday : 8:15am - 6:45pm Saturday : 8:15am - 4:30pm Sunday : 12:45pm - 4:30pm

Last admission : Forty minutes before closing time.

Closed on : New Year’s Day, Epiphany, Thursday, Friday and Holy Saturday, Easter, St. John the Baptist (24 June), Assumption (15 August), the Nativity of the Virgin (8 September), All Saints’ Day (1 November), Immaculate Conception (8 December), Monday and Tuesday of the first week of Advent, Christmas, Boxing Day (26 December)

Baptistery of St. John

Monday - Sunday : 8:30am - 7:30pm First Sunday of the month : 8:30am - 1:30pm

Last admission : 30 minutes before closing

Closed on : 1 January, Easter, 8 September, Christmas Eve and day

Opera del Duomo Museum

Monday - Sunday : 8:30am - 7:30pm

Last admission : 7pm

Closed on : First Tuesday of every month, Christmas Day

Crypt of Santa Reparata

Monday - Saturday : 10:15am - 4pm Sunday : 1:30pm - 4pm

Last admission : 30 minutes before closing time

Closed on : 24 June, 15 August, Christmas Day

Duomo Florence mass schedule

Duomo Florence Mass schedule

Mondays to Saturdays : 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 6:00 pm (English Mass on Saturdays at 5:00 pm, venue moved to Misericordia on the first Saturday of each month)

Timings of Florence Duomo

Sundays : 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am (Gregorian chant), 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm (Vespers with chants at 5:30 pm)

Detailed Duomo Florence Mass timings

How long do you need to tour the Florence Duomo?

Timings of Florence Duomo

The time needed to tour the Florence Duomo depends on the extent of your exploration. Here's a rough breakdown:

  • The Cathedral and the Crypt: Approximately 45 minutes
  • Climbing the Dome (Brunelleschi's Cupola): Approximately 45 minutes for the climb, and then 15-20 minutes at the top.
  • Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Opera del Duomo Museum): At least 1 hour to explore the collection.
  • Baptistry: About 20-30 minutes.
  • Campanile (Bell Tower - if choosing another climb): Another 40 minutes or so.
  • Piazza del Duomo : Set aside 3-4 hours to explore the square with its many attractions.

Considering possible queues, visitors aiming for a thorough exploration of the Florence Duomo should budget more than a couple of hours. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and actual times may vary based on individual preferences and conditions

Frequently asked questions about Duomo Florence hours

- Cathedral : Mon-Sat, 10:15 am - 4:45 pm; closed Sundays. - Dome : Mon-Fri, 8:15 am - 7:30 pm; Sat, 8:15 am - 5:15 pm; Sun, 12:24 pm - 5:15 pm. - Giotto's Bell Tower , Duomo Museum , and Baptistery of San Giovanni : Open daily from 8:15 am, 9 am, and 8:30 am respectively, until 7:45 pm: - Crypt of Santa Reparata : Mon - Sat: 10:15 am - 4 pm Sun: 1:30 am - 4pm

- Cathedral: Closed on Sundays. - Dome: Closed Sunday mornings. - Duomo Museum: Closed on the first Tuesday of every month. - Giotto's Bell Tower and Baptistery: Open daily.

For a comprehensive visit to Florence Duomo, plan approximately 1-2 hours to explore the main cathedral and museum. If you intend to fully experience the complex, including climbing the dome, allocate at least 2-3 hours.

The mass timings for Duomo Florence are: Mondays to Saturdays : 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 6:00 pm (English Mass on Saturdays at 5:00 pm, venue moved to Misericordia on the first Saturday of each month) Sundays : 7:30 am, 9 am, 10:30 am (Gregorian chant), 12 pm, 6 pm (Vespers with chants at 5:30 pm)

It takes about 463 steps to climb to the top of the Duomo Florence dome , and it can take around 30-45 minutes, depending on your pace.

The best time to visit Duomo Florence is between April and September when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds. Weekdays, especially mid-week, are ideal for avoiding peak-season crowds. Early mornings, right after opening, offer the least crowded experience. Consider planning your visit in early April or late September for optimal conditions.

No, Duomo Florence and its attractions are not open for nighttime visits.

To avoid large crowds at the Duomo Florence, it is recommended to arrive early in the morning, right after it opens. Early mornings, especially on weekdays, tend to have fewer visitors, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

It is highly recommended to buy Duomo Florence tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. This will help you avoid long queues and ensure that you get to visit the attractions on your preferred date and time.

No, there is no elevator to the top of the Duomo Florence. It is only accessible by climbing the stairs.

The timing at the Duomo Florence may vary by season and during holidays. It's important to note that the religious parts of the Duomo complex, such as the cathedral, may be closed or have shorter hours on religious holidays. It's advisable to check the specific schedule and plan accordingly based on the time of year and any upcoming holidays.

To ensure a smooth experience, it's advisable to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time slot for the Duomo Florence.

If you're late, you might miss the tour , as they tend to start promptly. Latecomers may not be able to join the group or receive a refund. Aim to get to the meeting point at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time so that even if you lose your way or face any delays, you’ll still have some buffer time. This way, you can make the most of your Duomo Florence experience.

While you do have the option to choose a particular time slot when booking the ticket, note that only the Dome has timed entry; apart from that, pretty much the whole complex has flexible timings.

Timings of Florence Duomo

Getting There

Timings of Florence Duomo

Eternal Arrival

Visiting the Florence Duomo: 7 Crucial Tips + Recommended Ticket Options

When traveling to Florence, there’s one landmark that stands head and shoulders above the rest as an absolute must-see attraction: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore , simply known as the Florence Duomo . 

While the Duomo and its famous Brunelleschi Dome may be famous worldwide, not everyone knows that the cathedral is just one piece of the spectacular Duomo Complex.

You can visit the imposing cathedral free of charge, but you’ll find many other Florence landmarks in Piazza del Duomo that you can access for a fee.

There’s a lot to see in this complex of buildings, so you’ll want to decide what you want to prioritize, partly based on how much time you have in Florence.

You can choose between several ticket types that give you access to some or all the landmarks, some for 72 hours.

view of the duomo in florence from some windows

Before getting into the ticket types and other useful things to know before visiting the Duomo in Florence (and why it really ought to be on your Florence itinerary ), let’s have a quick history lesson to catch you up on the fascinating history of what was once the largest cathedral in the world!

Whether you have but one day in Florence , a full week, or more: you can’t miss this!

Table of Contents

A Brief History of the Florence Duomo

View of the Florence Duomo building with facade, dome, belltower all in view, one of the most famous landmarks in florence, before visiting the florence duomo interior

First of all, let’s get terms straight: Duomo means ‘Cathedral’ in Italian, so this building is not to be confused with the Milan Duomo or any other cathedral in Italy.

Good? Now let’s get started!

The lengthy construction of the Florence Duomo started in 1296, but would not be completed until almost a century and a half later, in 1436.

Since it spanned nearly 150 years, as you can imagine, several architects needed to be involved.

The result? A unique church combining a variety of popular architectural styles that reflect the architectural zeitgeist, including Renaissance and Gothic elements.

When completed, the Duomo was the largest church in the world; it has since been upstaged by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

The construction of the cathedral began during a flourishing period in Florence’s history, and it was constantly interrupted due to external events.

The church was initially designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, but the design changed significantly as other architects took over the project.

The Duomo’s stunning dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the last parts of the church to be finished, not until 1436.

The imposing dome was an engineering feat at the time, but it remains one today: it’s still the largest masonry vault in the world even now!

Although it was not yet complete, the church was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore in 1412, a clear tribute to the city’s symbol, the Florentine iris.

The cathedral’s façade, one of the most impressive features alongside the dome, also looked very different at the time of completion when compared to its current appearance.

the facade of the florence duomo church with green marble and all sorts of detail work including mosaic

In 1587, the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici decided to replace it entirely. The decorative elements of the original façade are now on display inside the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

However, the changes weren’t over yet, and the façade as you see it today is just a century old.

The cathedral saw significant renovation work during the 19th century, the most impressive one being the decoration of the façade with white, green, and red marble done by Emilio De Fabris between 1871 and 1884 to match Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Towards the end of the 20th century, extensive archaeological excavations uncovered the ruins of an ancient church right below the Florence Duomo.

Archaeologists soon identified the Church of Santa Reparata, the ancient city cathedral which replaced the San Lorenzo Cathedral.

The Landmarks of the Florence Duomo Complex

In addition to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo Complex includes the Baptistery of St. John, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the Church of Santa Reparata.

Depending on the ticket for the Duomo you purchase, you can visit all the landmarks or just a few highlights.

Before you make your choice, here’s a quick overview of what to expect from each landmark of the Duomo Complex.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

detail work on the facade of the duomo church

After admiring the beautiful marble façade of the cathedral with its decorative elements and colorful mosaics — including the famous one above — step inside to discover the inside.

Entry to the Duomo itself is free, and you can check out the beautiful artwork inside.

The inside has a very simple appearance compared to the ornate exterior, but you can admire an absolute treasure trove of art.

interior of the church

These works include Renaissance paintings and frescoes.

You can also find busts of key personalities from the city’s history like Giotto and Brunelleschi and other sculptures.

And of course, there’s the interior of the dome — but that warrants its own section, now.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

the interior of the bruneschelli dome with the painting of the last judgment inside of it

Warranting a separate section all of its own, while Brunelleschi’s Dome is part of the Florence Duomo, it requires a separate entry with a time slot reservation.

It’s worth the extra effort through to see this marvelous dome covered in a fresco by Vasari and Zuccari representing The Last Judgment.  

For a closer look at the wonderful fresco on the dome’s vault, you’ll have to buy a ticket that includes the climb to the Brunelleschi Dome.

It’s worth the extra price to see the stunning close-up of the fresco that will allow you to admire the impressive details!

view of the city of florence including the giotto belltower from the vantage point of the brunelleschi dome

However, if you do so, not only will you be able to see this fresco, you’ll also be able to admire the panoramic view of Florence from above.

I mean, just look at those epic views from the top!

I’d say it’s worth all those stairs you have to climb.

Church of Santa Reparata

the historical crypt of the florence duomo lit by warm light

The ancient paleo-Christian church of Santa Reparata now serves as the crypt of the Florence Duomo.

The church likely dates to the early 5th century and later replaced San Lorenzo as the city cathedral. 

The Church of Santa Reparata served as Florence’s main cathedral until 1379 when it was demolished to make space for the current cathedral.

glass paneling showing the church below

If you visit the underground, you can still see well-preserved, colorful mosaics on the floor, frescoes, and tombstones.

Glass floors show you the original stonework!

The access to the ancient church is inside the Duomo, but be warned, it’s only accessible for a fee, or as part of a pass.

Giotto’s Bell Tower

the super-tall giotto belltower done in the same marblework you see on the exterior of the florence duomo

Giotto’s Bell Tower is widely considered the most beautiful bell tower in Italy, completely covered in red, green, and white marble from the various regions of Tuscany. 

Giotto started working on the bell tower project in 1334 but tragically could only complete a small part before his death in 1337.

The work was continued by Andrea Pisano and Luca della Robbia over the following years and completed in 1359.

On top of the beautiful marble decoration, the tower includes many decorative elements, including bas-reliefs and statues of key personalities.

The statues you now see on the tower are copies, while the originals are kept in the Opera del Duomo Museum (also on this list!)

If you ask me, the absolute best part of the tower is the top terrace offering sweeping views of Florence.

view of the florence area from the top of the giotto bell tower

It’s a truly magnificent view!

However, climbing to the top of the tower may not be for everyone. There’s over 400 stairs leading to the top, and the narrow stairway can be challenging.

Access is not recommended for people suffering from cardiovascular conditions or claustrophobia.

Baptistery of St. John

the octogon-shaped baptistery in front of the florence duomo

Next to the Florence Duomo, the octagonal Baptistery of St. John is among the oldest churches in Florence.

Although the origins of the church are uncertain, several decorative elements on the outside, including part of the marble, were likely reclaimed from ancient pagan buildings.

The baptistery you can now admire is the result of a renovation of an older one, likely dating back to the 4th or possibly 5th century.

Duomo in Florence, with rounded building and marble artwork with stripes and symmetry

The inside of the baptistery was decorated with stunning mosaics by local artists in the 13th century.

The three main doors of the church were designed and decorated by significant artists, including Andrea Pisano and Ghiberti.

Note that many artworks that previously adorned the baptistery are now on display in the Opera del Duomo Museum.

Opera del Duomo Museum

view of a wooden prototype of the facade of the duomo found in the florence duomo museum

The final part of the Duomo Complex, the Opera del Duomo Museum, contains the original artworks that were inside the monuments and several decorative elements.

As we’ve mentioned throughout the piece so far, many works have been removed from their original location in the Duomo Complex and placed here.

The small but mighty museum houses works by some of the greatest Renaissance artists of this time period, including Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Giotto, and many others.

A few of the highlights in the museum are the original “Gates of Paradise” by Ghiberti from the Baptistery, the Pietà Bandini by Michelangelo, and several sculptures from Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Ticket Options and Guided Tours of the Florence Duomo

The beautiful city of Florence as seen from across the river at a popular viewpoint with the Duomo dominating the skyline

To get the best possible experience of the Florence Duomo and its rich historical context, I think it’s highly beneficial to join a guided tour.

Lucky for you, there’s a ton of different ways to do that, with different time commitments and buildings visited.

Here are our top 3 picks for Florence Duomo tours and/or entry tickets, and what is included on each.

1. Cathedral Only Skip-the-Line Entry & Tour

Inside The Cathedral of Florence, somewhat plain and dark

If you want to learn more about the cathedral, you can join this Florence Cathedral: Priority Entrance Tour with an expert guide that will tell you all about the history of the Duomo.

This ticket even allows you to enter through a separate entrance to skip the lines! You can do the tour in English, Spanish, or Italian.

Note that this tour does not include access to the Brunelleschi Dome.

To be honest, while this tour is one of the cheaper options, it would be my last choice because the interior of the cathedral isn’t nearly as interesting as the ability to see the dome.

However, if that’s all you can do because you’re booking at the last minute, it’s better than nothing.

2. Skip the Line Entry to Brunelleschi’s Dome and Cathedral Complex

The duomo of Florence, Italy and the wonderful masterpiece of The Judgment Day, inside the famous Dome

If you’re looking for a more complete experience, book this skip-the-line Cathedral + Brunelleschi’s dome entry ticket with time slot for the dome.

This is one of the more comprehensive options at a still affordable price! Keep in mind though that this ticket sells out quickly: it’s sold out entirely for a few days, and all but the best slots are taken for the upcoming few weeks.

Book about a month in advance if you want to have your choice of time slots for the Dome (there is the option of free cancellation if needed).

While the main draw of this ticket is the reserved entry for Brunelleschi’s Dome, you also get a 72-hour Duomo Complex pass that allows you to check out all the sites listed above.

That includes not only the church itself and the dome, but also the Bell Tower, the Duomo Museum, and Santa Reparata Crypt.

3. Skip the Line Brunelleschi Dome and Cathedral Complex Entrance and 2-Hour Guided Tour

beautiful view of the duomo as seen from the Santa Maria del Fiore

This Brunelleschi + Cathedral Complex small group tour is similar to the above, only it includes a 2-hour guided tour as opposed to only skip-the-line tickets.

Then, you can continue your experience visiting the Florence Duomo in a self-guided fashion with the 72 hour pass.

This is the creme-de-la-creme tour if you want to experience it all with a tour guide who can give you the historical context of what you’re seeing — all in a small group capped at 12 people.

Plus, you’ll still have the opportunity to tour certain parts of the complex independently, as you’ll get the 72-hour pass which allows you to see the sights this tour doesn’t cover, namely the bell tower and Cathedral crypt.

If you ask me, it’s the best of all worlds: a not-too-long tour, enough historical context to truly appreciate what you’re seeing, and then the opportunity to solo explore later!

Things to Know Before Visiting the Florence Duom

Now that you know how you can visit the various monuments of the Florence Duomo Complex, let’s chat about a few things you should keep in mind to make sure your trip is a great experience. 

Buy tickets in advance .

Florence Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore sunrise view, empty streets and square

In peak season, tickets are likely to sell out quite fast, especially those including the climb to the dome, which only is accessible via a pre-reserved time slot.

If you are not planning on getting a guided tour, book your tickets online a few weeks before to have the best shot at finding your perfect time slot.

You don’t need to book specific time slots for the other monuments, so if you don’t want to climb the dome, you’ll likely have no trouble finding tickets.

Finally, although you can buy tickets at the on-site ticket office, booking online removes the stress of waiting in line, so you can use that precious time to visit other beautiful areas of Florence.

To recap our ticket recommendations:

  • Cathedral Only Guided Tour (No Dome Climb)
  • Skip-the-Line Cathedral + Dome + 72 Hour Pass (No Tour Guide)
  • 2-Hour Guided Tour with Cathedral, Dome + 72 Hour Complex Pass

Don’t rush!

Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence Italy closeup street view, with belltower rising above the skyline

There’s a lot to see around Piazza del Duomo, and it can be exhausting if you try to fit everything in one day.

The passes are valid for three days (on all but the first ticket option listed above) , so you can divide the monuments and only do one or two per day.

This way, you’ll enjoy the visits a lot more and won’t end up drained.

For instance, if you want to climb both Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Brunelleschi Dome, try to do them on two separate days (your legs will thank you) .

As an extra bonus, you can even schedule your visits for different times, one during the day and the other around sunset.

Check the weather and plan accordingly!

Florence's cathedral reflected in a puddle on a rainy day

Most monuments are indoors, so you can visit them at any time without having to worry about the weather.

However, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Brunelleschi Dome are open at the top, so you’ll want to avoid climbing on a rainy or cloudy day so you can actually enjoy the view once you get to the top!

At the same time, depending on what else you’d like to do in the city, if you see bad weather in the forecast (especially if visiting Florence in winter ), you can choose to visit the museum, baptistery, and Santa Reparata during that time.

That way, you can enjoy exploring the city when the weather is better.

Dress appropriately .

florence duomo outfit with woman with outstretched arms enjoying the beautiful florence cityscape

As for any other church in Italy, you should dress appropriately to visit the Duomo and St. John’s Baptistery as a sign of respect for the local culture and holiness of the site.

This means no shorts or skirts above the knees and no bare shoulders (a shawl will be fine to cover them up).

In summer, you can wear a t-shirt, or bring a scarf to cover the shoulders and wear long pants, skirts, or dresses.

Wear the right shoes.

close up of lace up boots

While the dress code is a religious thing, wearing the right shoes is all about practicality.

You’ll end up walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes.

That doesn’t mean they have to be sneakers though! You could wear walking sandals, a well-broken-in pair of boots, etc.

Especially when climbing Giotto’s Tower or the steps up to the Dome, having comfy shoes is crucial!

Don’t bring your luggage .

woman holding luggage on a street wearing a white shirt and jeans

If you’re visiting the Florence Duomo before your hotel check-in or after check-out, store your luggage somewhere before.

The last thing you want is to drag around your suitcase while visiting the cathedral or baptistery!

Especially if you plan to climb Giotto’s Bell Tower, you can’t enter with big luggage since the stairway is very narrow.  

The Duomo Museum has a cloakroom where you can leave your luggage if needed.

The other monuments don’t have such a service, so don’t forget to plan accordingly.

Pick the right time .

sunset from the dome of the florence duomo with the belltower in view

If possible, try to plan your visit to the Florence Duomo during the week rather than the weekend.

Although in the busiest season you’ll still find many people around, visiting during the week usually means you have a better chance of avoiding the worst of the crowds.

As for the time, try to visit at the earliest time possible, or right before closing time.

If you want to climb the dome around sunset, keep in mind that these time slots sell the fastest, so you’ll have to book ahead.

Finally, don’t forget to check the hours before you visit!

The museum, for example, is closed every first Tuesday of the month, unless it’s a holiday, in which case it may remain open.

Each monument also has different hours, so check the official website for the dates you are interested in.

Now that you have all the practical information you need, it’s time to start planning your visit to the Florence Duomo, this wonderful Renaissance monument!

Roxana, an author at Eternal Arrival, in front of the NYC skyline

Roxana is a Romanian-born freelance travel writer who has lived in Italy for over 15 years. She has a Master’s in Journalism and a Bachelor’s in Film Studies, and she studied at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre. Besides her native Romania, Roxana has lived in Rome, Lisbon, and Berlin, and she has traveled through much of Europe in search of hidden gems, history, and culture.

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How To Visit the Florence Cathedral in 2024: Tickets, Tours, and More!

Brandon Shaw Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Have you even seen Florence if you don’t visit Il Duomo? The iconic cathedral with its famous dome is right smack in the middle of the city. With a history of intrigue and famous personalities, you can’t leave without seeing it. Here’s everything you need to know to visit the Florence Cathedral from getting tickets to the best guided tours, what to see, and where to eat nearby.

Pro Tip: Planning your trip to Florence? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you need it. Also, check out our Florence Guide for more planning resources, our best Florence Duomo tours for a memorable trip, and the top things to do in Florence .

Visiting the Florence Cathedral: What We’ll Cover

As the city’s most iconic landmark and a highlight on our Florence tours , no trip to Florence would be complete without visiting the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known affectionately as Il Duomo.

It was one of the largest churches in the 15th century and its construction took 140 years. It has a fascinating history that involves the Medici, plenty of scandal, and the engineering feat that is Brunelleschi’s dome.

There’s quite a bit to see and you can even climb the dome! In this guide, find out everything you need to know about how to visit the Florence cathedral. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Opening hours and tickets
  • How much time to budget for your visit
  • How to get to the Duomo
  • What to see at the Duomo
  • Guided tour options
  • Where to eat nearby

best time to visit duomo florence

Duomo Opening Hours and Tickets

best time to visit duomo florence

You can visit the Florence cathedral for free, but you’ll have to buy one of the three combined ticket passes to see the other areas of interest in the Duomo complex including the dome.

What many people don’t realize is that the Duomo complex is more than just the church—there’s also the Baptistry, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and, inside the church itself, there’s also a museum and the iconic dome high above. It’s possible to visit them all.

Currently, you can choose between three different combined tickets depending on which areas you want to see. Each pass is valid for three calendar days starting from the date of the visit booked during the purchase process.

We recommend booking your tickets for the Duomo in advance. Here’s what you need to know about opening hours and ticket passes for the Florence Cathedral, the dome, and other areas of interest:

Combined Ticket Passes:

 Brunelleschi Pass: Full: €30 | Reduced: €12 | Includes all the monuments (Dome, Bell Tower, Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata)

Giotto Pass:  Full: €20 | Reduced: €7 | Includes all monuments, except the Dome (Bell Tower, Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata)

Ghiberti Pass:  Full: €15 | Reduced: €5 | Includes three monuments (Museum, Baptistery, Santa Reparata)

Opening Hours:

Cathedral Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10:15 am – 4:15 pm; Closed to tourist visits on Sunday | Admission : Free

Baptistery Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:15 am – 5:15 pm, Last entry 5 pm.

Museum Hours: Mondays and weekends, 10:15 am – 7:30 pm. Last entry 3 pm.

Giotto’s Bell Tower Hours: Daily (Monday-Sunday), 8:15 am – 7:45 pm. Last entry 6:45 pm.

Dome Hours: Weekdays (Monday – Friday), 8:15 am – 7:30 pm, last entry 6:45 pm; Saturdays, 8:15 am – 5:30 pm, last entry 4:30 pm; Sundays and public holidays, 12:45 pm – 5:30 pm, last entry 4:30 pm.

Address: Piazza del Duomo

Not ready to book a tour? Check out the best Florence tours to take and why .

How Long To Spend at the Duomo

best time to visit duomo florence

Short Answer: 1 hour

One hour will be enough depending on what you’d like to see. For example, if you only want to see the inside of the Cathedral, then I’d say 1 hour is sufficient, maybe even too much. On the other hand, if you want to visit more than the site or go to the dome, then you’ll likely need at least 2 hours.

The architecture of the cathedral is Gothic in style. An important thing to know about Gothic churches is that their exteriors feature the most intricate of art details that exist; however, their interiors are not nearly as ornate. This is why most people are so surprised once they go in and discover the ornate style does not continue on the inside of the cathedral.

If you plan to climb the dome , bear in mind that there are 463 steps to conquer and there’s no elevator. We recommend giving yourself at least 1.5 hours to climb the dome. Once you get to the top and see those views, you’ll agree it’s definitely worth it! That said, we do not recommend the dome for people suffering from heart problems, vertigo, or claustrophobia, or for pregnant women.

The Baptistery is very small so going inside will be a quick visit and 30 minutes is more than enough time. However, you’ll probably spend about the same amount of time outside the building admiring those famous doors! More on that below.

How To Get To the Duomo

The Duomo is as centrally located in Florence as it gets and is easily accessible on foot from anywhere in the center. here are some estimated walking times from other top sites:

  • 10-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella Train Station
  • 8-minute from the Accademia Gallery
  • 8-minute walk from Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio
  • 25-minute walk from Piazzale Michelangelo

The Duomo is located in a massive square that is appropriately called Duomo Square (Piazza del Duomo). It will pop out at you suddenly as you walk down one of the surrounding narrow streets. All of a sudden, boom! The beautiful square opens up with Giotto’s Bell Tower on the right and straight in front is the Baptistery. It’s very easy to find.

Address:  Piazza del Duomo

What To See at the Duomo

best time to visit duomo florence

The Florence Cathedral is a must-see attraction and it would be very difficult to miss when you’re in town. The Duomo is in the center and visible from much of the city. It is named the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which translates to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower. One could assume that the name refers to the flower and symbol of Florence—the  Giglio  or Red Lily/Iris.

The name Santa Maria del Fiore, however, is seldom used in Italy. Most simply refer to it as Il Duomo. The Duomo was designed in a very Tuscan/Florentine style. Green and white marble brings life to its facade and surfaces. It differs greatly from the Basilica of Rome in many ways. One is that it’s completely detached from other buildings so you can walk 360 degrees around it.

By far the most famous moment in this cathedral’s history was the murder of Giuliano dè Medici. On Sunday, April 26, 1478, the Pazzi family attempted to dethrone the Medici from power. The idea was to murder both Giuliano and Lorenzo the Great, but they failed to kill Lorenzo and were banished from Florence.

The Opera del Duomo ran a competition in 1418, which was won by Filippo Brunelleschi. Work on the dome didn’t start for another two years and many thought it impossible, but the Medici family pressed on and Brunelleschi completed it in 1434.

The dome, which was the first of its magnitude since the Pantheon, was masterfully built to withstand lightning, earthquakes, and the passage of time. To this day, people stare in awe at how something so gigantic could have been built so long ago…and still be intact!

To fully appreciate the dome, we have to understand a few things about the architect. Filippo Brunelleschi was a goldsmith and sculptor by trade. He had no formal training as either an architect or an engineer. When he won, Florentines were expecting a top-class architect to cap their beloved Duomo, but instead, they got an artist who works gold.

The other important factor is that the design didn’t call for flying buttresses as most Gothic churches had at the time. Luckily, Brunelleschi had an idea to solve that. He would build two domes—one inside the other. This technique had never been utilized in dome construction before and to this day is still regarded as a remarkable engineering achievement.

The Baptistery

The Baptistry doors are attached to the Baptistry of St. John in Florence. This is directly in front of the Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo). It’s so close to the cathedral and has such a similar design that it appears to be the same structure but it’s a church of its own and considered a minor basilica.

The structure is one of the oldest in Florence, dating back to the late 11th century. The building is recognized in popular culture for three sets of doors but mostly the east doors, which are the best. The doors were designed and constructed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and his workshop and took 27 years to complete.

The main reason is that they were done in the early 15th century when art was excelling at a breakneck pace. This was basically when the Renaissance was becoming the Renaissance. Many new techniques were being developed, including better uses of space and perspective. Ghiberti was already a local celebrity for his designs on the north doors and these would be his masterpiece.

His time was well spent–these doors are commonly referred to as the “Gates of Paradise,” which was coined by Michelangelo himself. Vasari, one of Florence’s greatest artists and art critics, described them in his book “Lives of the Artists” as, “undeniably perfect in every way and must rank as the finest masterpiece ever created.”

In 1296, the Opera del Duomo or Cathedral Workshop was founded by the republic of Florence to build the church and bell tower. Once these architectural wonders were finished in the mid-15th century, the task of the opera shifted to conserving the above-mentioned monuments.

In 1891, they created a museum to house all of the statues and artwork they removed from the church and Baptistery over the centuries. The space dedicated to this endeavor is massive, with over 64,000 square feet (6,000 meters) on multiple floors to house over 750 works of art.

Spanning more than 700 years of artists, it’s safe to say that here you’ll find one of the biggest concentrations of Florentine artwork. There are pieces by masters such as Donatello’s wooden statue of a penitent Saint Mary Magdelene. You’ll also find Ghiberti’s original doors for the Baptistery, otherwise known as the Gates of Paradise.

Many people don’t know that you can even find a statue by Michelangelo. It was a pieta that he created later in his life which he was supposedly carving for his own tomb. There’s damage to his left leg and arm, which according to legend, was self-inflicted due to his frustration with his failing skills as he aged.

Duomo Tour Options

florence cathedral interior 700 x 425

When it comes to an iconic monument like Florence’s Duomo, there’s always a lot of history to explore. On a tour, your guide will share stories about the period, place, people, and relevant artistic movement so you have the context you need to truly appreciate the monument.

This is what makes guided tours so invaluable when visiting a new city! Our local guides are passionate about what they do—so no boring moments on our tours! Not to mention tours also save you tons of time on the logistics of seeing top sites.

If you want the full Duomo experience, we recommend taking our Florence Duomo Tour and Dome Climb with secret terraces and skip-the-line access.

Gothic-style churches are often most ornate on the exterior. So, you might want to take one of our Florence walking tours that include the city’s other top architectural sights and galleries along with a tour of the exterior of the Duomo.

It all depends on your interests and time flexibility! Here are a few of our top-rated Florence Duomo tours:

Complete Florence Duomo Tour with Dome Climb (1.5 hours)

What’s more iconic than climbing to the top of the famous Florence Duomo to see the Renaissance city from the best viewpoint? Don’t wait to book this tour of the dome and secret terraces of the Florence Cathedral.

If you’re a more active traveler, it’s the perfect way to get to know Florence’s beloved cathedral and explore areas that the general public isn’t allowed to see.

See tour itinerary, price, and description

Florence Walking Tour with Statue of Michelangelo’s David (3 hours)

This is our most popular tour in Florence. It includes skip-the-line admission to the David and Accademia for a guided visit. Your English-speaking guide will then take you to see the Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, from the outside.

You’ll also see the Baptistry Doors, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Dante’s District, the Bronze Boar, Leather Market, and Orsanmichele Church. There’s always time for a gelato stop too!

Florence in a Day Combo Tour with David and Uffizi (6.5 hours)

Make the most of your trip to Florence by getting to know the most beloved sites in a single day. With skip-the-line tickets and a fun, local guide, you can breeze through the Accademia and Uffizi galleries, see the Florence Duomo from the outside, and visit the famous Ponte Vecchio.

You’ll also enjoy stops at the neighborhood where Dante grew up and learn about the Medici family who shaped Florence into the city we know today. It’s a fantastic way to spend a day in Florence exploring the best galleries and architecture.

Florence Private Walking Tour with Michelangelo’s David (3 hours)

This is the private version of our Florence Walking Tour with the Statue of David listed above. It comes at a higher price but your group will be the only people with the guide. This is a great option for anyone who enjoys a customizable experience.

Places To Eat Nearby

best time to visit duomo florence

When visiting the Duomo, you’ll likely work up an appetite! it’s a good idea to have a few solid restaurant recommendations, so you can have a great meal nearby.

For the foodies, we also have a great Florence local food tour in popular Santo Spirito.

Here are a few great places to eat near the Duomo. For more options, check out the best restaurants near the Florence Cathedral.

Coquinarius: €€ | Great Atmosphere —Authentic cuisine right in the middle of Florence. People love the Pear ravioli. They also have an extensive wine list!

La Ménagère: €€ | Chic Bistro —They serve coffee, breakfast, and lunch. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a break from pizza and pasta or a substantial breakfast.

Trattoria Dall’Oste Chianineria: €€ | Steak House —Florence is famous for the Bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine Steak). This is the place to go to try it!

Trattoria Mario: € | Tuscan Cuisine —A no-frills, local spot for lunch and dinner. When eating here, you’ll feel like a local.

best time to visit duomo florence

Where To Stay in Florence

Florence has a small historical center packed with iconic landmarks to explore. Plan where to stay in the best neighborhoods in this beautiful city.

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About Brandon Shaw

Brandon is a co-founder and owner of The Tour Guy and its subsidiary The Roman Guy. He left the States to travel the world at 18 and never looked back! As an official Tour Guide of Rome and Certified Sommelier, he loves to travel the world and share these experiences with his readers.

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Visitor's Guide to the Duomo Cathedral in Florence, Italy

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Florence's Famous Place of Worship

best time to visit duomo florence

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore , also known as il Duomo , serves as the city's symbol and it is the most recognizable building in Florence, Italy. The cathedral and its corresponding bell tower ( campanile ) and baptistery ( battistero ) are among the top ten Attractions in Florence  and the Duomo is also considered to be one of the top cathedrals to see in Italy .

History of the Duomo Complex

The Cathedral: Santa Maria del Fiore is dedicated to the Virgin of the Flowers. Built on the 4th-century remains of the original cathedral, Santa Reparata, it was initially designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Its main feature is the massive dome engineered according to the plans of Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi was awarded the commission for constructing the dome after winning a design competition, which pitted him against other prominent Florentine artists and architects, including Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The first stone of the eye-catching façade was laid on September 8, 1296, made of polychrome panels of green, white, and red marble. But this design is not the original—construction of an entirely new facade by Emilio De Fabris in the Florentine style popular in the 14th century, which was completed in the late 19th century.

The Duomo is 502-feet long, 300-feet wide and 376-feet high. It was the largest church in the world until the completion of  Saint Peter's Basilica  in  Vatican City in 1615.

The Dome: Construction on the dome, one of the most ambitious architectural and engineering feats of its time, had been stalled for some time because it was determined that building a cupola of that size would be impossible without the use of flying buttresses. Brunelleschi, however, had a deep knowledge and understanding of the key concepts of physics and geometry and therefore was able to solve this dilemma. His brilliance ultimately won him the challenge.

Brunelleschi's controversial and innovative plans provided for inner and outer shells that were held together with a ring and rib system, as well as employed a herringbone pattern to keep the bricks of the dome from falling to the ground. These construction techniques are commonplace today but were quite revolutionary during the time it was erected.

Work on the dome began in 1420 and finished in 1436. The lantern crown of the dome wasn't added until after Brunelleschi's death in 1446. A gilt copper sphere and cross containing holy relics were designed by Andrea del Verrocchio and added in 1466. Between 1572 and 1579, a fresco of The Last Judgment was painted on the inner shell of the dome—started by Giorgio Vasari and finished by Federico Zuccari.

What to See and Do around the Duomo

An imposing sight in the heart of the historic center of Florence, the richly decorative Duomo with a distinctive terracotta tile dome is Florence’s most famous symbol, and to date, Europe's fourth-largest church.

Climb the Dome: With a diameter of 45 meters (147.6 feet), Filippo Brunelleschi’s massive dome was completed in 1463. The largest of its time built without scaffolding, its outer shell is supported by a thick inner shell that acts as its platform. The best way to appreciate the genius of Brunelleschi's work—and the only way to see it up close—is to climb the dome. There are 463 steps, mostly in the narrow corridors used by workers when the dome was constructed—so it's not an activity for the claustrophobic or those who might get worn out on the stairs.

Tickets to climb the dome must be reserved in advance . You can select the time and date of your visit up to 30 days in advance.

Once you reach the base of the dome, you can walk along an interior walkway for a close-up view of "The Last Judgement." From there, you can continue all the way up the lantern, and step outside for incredible views of Florence from on high.

The Crypt of Santa Reparata: A 20th-century archaeological dig under the cathedral revealed the remains of the earlier cathedral, Santa Reparata; proof of the existence of early Christianity in the city. The discovery also provides extensive information about the art, history, and topography of the town. Visible still are 8th-century mosaics on the first floor decorated in a polychrome geometric pattern. The walls show fragments of frescoes, but the most important finding was the tomb of Brunelleschi, dating to 1446. Access to the crypt is included in the Duomo ticket (see above).

Saint John's Baptistery.  The Battistero San Giovanni ( Saint John's Baptistery ) is part of the Duomo complex and stands in front of the cathedral. Construction of the present Baptistery began in 1059, making it one of the oldest buildings in Florence. The interior of the octagon-shaped Baptistery is richly decorated with mosaics from the 1200s. But the baptistery is best-known for its exterior bronze doors, which feature exquisitely carved depictions of scenes from the Bible, designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and executed by Ghiberti and his apprentices. Artist Michelangelo dubbed the bronze doors the "Gates of Paradise" and the name has remained ever since. The original doors are now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the ones in place on the Baptistery are bronze casts of the originals.  

Climb the Campanile: Next to the Baptistery, the tall, square Campanile , or bell tower, is known affectionately as Giotto's Bell Tower. Designed by Giotto in 1334, the bell tower was not completed until 1359, more than two decades after the artist's death.

There are 414 steps to the top of the campanile up a narrow flight of stairs that winds around the inside of the tower. Once you reach the top, a panoramic terrace offers up-close views of Brunelleschi's dome, and views of Florence and the surrounding countryside that are rivaled only by those from the dome itself. Access to the bell tower is included with the cumulative ticket, though advance reservations are not possible. If you haven't reserved to climb the dome, the bell tower is a good substitute.

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo: This museum of art, architecture, and sculpture contains nearly 1,000 works of art from the Duomo and Baptistery, as well as fascinating exhibits about the design and construction of the buildings of the Duomo Complex. The giants of the Italian Renaissance are represented here, with works from Michelangelo, Donatello, della Robbia and Ghiberti, including the original baptistery doors. An outdoor terrace at the museum offers spectacular views of the dome. Admission to the museum is included in the cumulative ticket. 

Visitor Information for the Duomo Complex

Santa Maria del Fiore   sits on Piazza Duomo, which is located in the historic center of Florence.

Operating hours for the cathedral vary day to day, and also by the season. Visit the  Duomo website  prior to your arrival to view current operating hours and other information. Keep in mind that the Duomo is a place of worship and proper attire is required, meaning no shorts or skirts above the knee, no bare shoulder, and no hats once inside.

While entrance to the cathedral itself is free, a combined ticket (18 euros) is required to visit the dome, the crypt, the baptistery, and the campanile—it can be purchased from the Duomo website. 

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5 easy hacks to skip the lines at Duomo Florence

Things to do in Florence Florence Attractions Landmarks in Florence Florence Duomo How to Skip the Lines at Florence Duomo

A trip to Florence makes for one of the most wonderful experiences in all of Europe - with art entrenched in every crevice, quaint cobblestone streets and impressive Renaissance architecture all around. The Duomo di Firenze, or Florence Duomo, is one of Tuscany's most stunning churches. It is known for its size, architecture, and ageless beauty, has a long and illustrious history, making it one of Italy's most popular and revered landmarks. Looking for Duomo Florence skip the line tickets? You’re at the right place.

Wait Times - What to Expect at Florence Duomo?

Duomo Florence tickets

The Florence Duomo is amongst the most popular tourist landmarks in the world and, as you can probably imagine, the queues outside are excruciatingly long. On an average, it’ll take you anywhere between 1 to 2 hours to walk into the Florence Duomo if you’re planning to purchase your tickets on-site. This time can vary according to the time of your visit, the day, and even the month. To add to the waiting time, only 80 guests are allowed inside every 2 hours . To avoid wasting your precious time, opt for a skip-the-line Florence Duomo ticket that allows you to bypass the queue at the entrance.

5 Sure Shot Ways To Skip The Lines at Duomo Florence

Buy skip the line duomo florence tickets in advance online.

The simplest way to skip the lines at Duomo Florence is to buy skip the line Duomo Florence tickets online. When you opt for skip the line tickets to the dome of Florence’s most revered landmark, you get priority access that allows you to save your precious time in line and explore the landmark in peace. Getting your skip the line Duomo Florence tickets online also ensures you get your reservation beforehand and don’t end up facing disappointment at the ticket counter.

Sign up for a guided tour of Duomo Florence

The second most popular way to skip the lines at Duomo Florence is to get a guided tour of the attraction. Groups part of a guided tour get priority access to Duomo Florence and skip the long waiting lines at the entrance. You can choose from different types of guided tours depending on the type of experience you’re looking for. A basic guided tour lasts for around 45 minutes but you can also go for longer tours that explore the Duomo more extensively.

Grab tickets to the Cupola + Duomo

Another popular option is to buy combo tickets that allow you to visit the Duomo and climb the Cupola too. It’s slightly expensive, but the experience is worthwhile. This tour proceeds to the Museum of the Cathedral Works, which houses several of the Duomo's most noteworthy works. Visitors can climb Giotto's Bell Tower and make their way up the Cupola (dome) for one of the best aerial views of Florence.

Get multi-attraction combo tickets - Duomo + Uffizi + Accademia

Another easy and fun way to skip the lines at the Duomo Florence is by getting combo tickets that cover multiple landmarks in the city. Some of the options at your disposal include Florence Half-Day Tour with Uffizi & Accademia Galleries with Florence Cathedral, Accademia & David Tour + Duomo Tour, and many others. Since these tours are guided, you get skip the line access to most attractions in the itinerary including the Duomo. Multi-attraction guided tours are also great for when you don’t have a lot of time and want to explore all the good parts of Florence in a day or half.

Use the Firenze Card

Another alternative is to see the Duomo Florence with the Firenze Card. However, you must make reservations in advance or expect to wait in enormous queues to climb the Cupola. The Firenze Card can be purchased at any of the city's sales outlets. This option is great if you want to explore the landmarks of Florence without having a guide accompany you every step of the way.

Recommended Skip The Line Duomo Florence Tickets

Skip the line florence duomo: tickets vs guided tours - what to choose.

Skip the line tickets and guided tours are the two best ways you can explore the Duomo Florence without waiting in line for hours at end. A basic skip the line ticket gives you priority access to the landmark, allowing you to explore the Florence Duomo at your own pace.

With guided tours, you get to experience the Duomo as part of a group with a guide leading the way. This option makes for a more insightful experience since you get to learn a lot more about the landmark you’re visiting as compared to when you visit it by yourself. A skip the line guided tour works out to be the best of both worlds since you get to skip the line at the entrance while being led by a knowledgeable guide for an enlightening experience.

Skip The Line Florence Duomo Deconstructed

With a regular ticket, your experience will begin outside the Duomo Florence ticket counter where you’ll have to wait in line for your turn. But with skip the line Duomo Florence tickets , you'll be able to skip the ticket line and get direct access to the Duomo. This crimson dome, built by Filippo Brunelleschi, was the world's largest at the time and quickly became a landmark of Florence. You will be able to see the entire city of Florence from your unique vantage point at the Cupola.

A 463-step journey to the top of the Duomo is included in your skip the line Duomo Florence tickets. On your way up, you'll be able to admire the spectacular interiors of the Duomo, including a close-up view of Vasari's Last Judgment. The Cathedral may easily be seen from inside the Cupola or from the access entrance. Outside the cathedral, a statue of each of the architects, Arnolfo di Cambio and Filippo Brunelleschi, is erected in honor of their achievement. If you opt for skip the line guided tour tickets, this same experience will be led by an expert guide who’ll share fascinating facts about every little element of the landmark.

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Skip the line ticket florence duomo reviews.

Walking to the Duomo was a challenging activity, but so worth it once you arrive at the top. The view from the Duomo is unparalleled. Instructions were clear and easy to follow, no issues with anything. Thanks so much!

- Patrick, Headout, March 2023

Great tour! Francesca was so knowledgeable and sweet. It was a perfect amount of time for us to see the baptistry and Duomo, and still have plenty of time for the rest of the day. The view at the top was amazing. The company even fit us in to another tour at the academia later in the day. They were so helpful.

- Sarah, Headout, April 2022

Insider Tips

  • If you’re choosing to wait and buy your tickets at the entrance, do it as early as possible in the morning to avoid waiting in line. Alternatively, you can pre-book your Florence Duomo tickets online and avoid the hassle of offline ticket purchase.
  • Visitors going to the Florence Duomo are required to cover their shoulders and knees. Shorts, short skirts, tank tops, and other similar attire are not allowed.
  • The cupola, the massive dome at the pinnacle of the church, will have the longest line during your Duomo visit. Visitors have to walk in a single-file about halfway up the cupola, making the journey up and down the dome take an eternity. Start with the cupola because it has the longest line and you won't feel like you're wasting your day standing in line.
  • If you’re short on time, go for a multi-attraction guided tour of Florence . These combo tours cover most of the landmarks in the city and offer skip the line access ensuring you don’t waste any time waiting in line.

Essential Information

Duomo Florence tickets

How to get to Duomo

By Bus: Bus lines 2, 22, 6, C2 stop near the Piazza del Duomo. By Train: The Piazza del Duomo is around a kilometre from the Florence train station. It would take roughly 10 minutes to walk from here to the Duomo. By Car: Because the Duomo is in the centre of Florence, there are numerous paid parking services and garages nearby. The Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station has the closest parking lot.

Florence Duomo Opening Hours

Monday to Saturday: 10:15 AM to 4:45 PM Duomo Florence is closed on Sunday

Best Time to Visit Florence Duomo

The best time to visit Florence's Duomo is when it first opens in the morning or just before it closes in the afternoon. The best time to visit Florence is from April to June and September to October.

Rules and Regulations

  • Visitors are expected to keep their shoulders, knees covered and guests wearing shorts, short skirts, tank tops, and similar clothing will not be permitted in.
  • Photography is allowed inside the Cathedral, Dome and Crypt.
  • Food and drinks are not allowed inside the Duomo.

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Smrithi Jacob

Is an avid reader, writer, and dreamer. She is constantly in pursuit of portals to travel to interesting places afar and likes to experience new cultures through her writing. Give her a city unheard of and a giant mug of coffee, and she’s good to go!

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  • Florence's Duomo

Inside Florence's Cathedral, the Duomo

Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata , the remains of which can be seen in the crypt.

best time to visit duomo florence

The cathedral was begun at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio , and the dome, which dominates the exterior, was added in the 15th century on a design of Filippo Brunelleschi . A statue to each of these important architects can be found outside to the right of the cathedral, both admiring their work for the rest of eternity. Can you imagine it took two centuries for the cathedral to be deemed finished?

Florence Duomo - the inside and its mosaic pavement

Did you know?

Florence's cathedral is the 4th largest in the world, after St. Peter's in Rome, St. Paul's in London and the Duomo in Milan.

The church was consecrated as soon as the dome was in place although the façade (front of the church) was only half finished by then. It was considered just a decoration, and thus remained unfinished up until the 19th century. At that point, it was actually redone by the likes of the time and finally finished - which is what you see today, in the top photo.

The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble. The interior, by contrast, is pretty stark and plain but quite enjoyable on warm summer days since the temperature inside tends to be cooler. The mosaic pavements are certainly its main attraction within, which you can see in the photo above, aren't they spectacular? They look like mosaic carpets.

best time to visit duomo florence

Please note the clock above the entrance on the inside of the church. It was designed in 1443 by Paolo Uccello in accordance with the ora italica , where the 24th hour of the day ended at sunset... and it still works!

best time to visit duomo florence

The biggest artwork within the cathedral is Giorgio Vasari 's frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9): they were designed by Vasari but painted mostly by his less-talented student Federico Zuccari by 1579.

Frescos inside Florence's dome

You should also pay attention to the 3 frescoes alongside the left nave of the cathedral: Dante Before the City of Florence by Domenico di Michelino (1465) which is especially interesting because it shows us, apart from scenes of the Divine Comedy, a view on Florence in 1465, a Florence such as Dante himself could not have seen in his time; the Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello (1436, the one on the left below) and the Equestrian statue of Niccolò da Tolentino by Andrea del Castagno (1456, the one on the right). Both frescoes portray the condottieri as heroic figures riding triumphantly. Both painters had problems when applying in painting the new rules of perspective to foreshortening: they used two unifying points, one for the horse and one for the pedestal, instead a single unifying point.

best time to visit duomo florence

Visiting the cathedral: do you need tickets for Duomo or is it free?

No, entrance is free! You do have to buy the single "Grande Museo del Duomo" pass to visit the other monuments in Piazza del Duomo (climb up the Dome and the bell tower, the Baptistery and the museum).

For this reason, you'll at times find a long line to get in into the cathedral. Don't worry, the line moves pretty quickly! But in an effort to reduce the line, the cathedral administration is trying to increase the number of visitors allowed at any one time into the church as long as noise level remains low. The solution has been to require any group of over 4 visitors to rent either the radio or audio guides (cost is 2-2,50 euro per person) so that the level of noise inside the church remains low and larger amounts of people can be allowed inside at any one time. Large groups of students will receive 50% discount on the cost of the audio guide. If you're with a tour group, you'll likely already have the earphones and don't have to worry about this recent change.

Another way to visit the Duomo is to do so with a tour guide, who can get you into special areas and fill you in on all the details, legends and curiosties within.  One of our favorites, included an exclusive visit to the roof top terraces .

Climbing to the top of Brunelleschi's Cupola

Don't forget to climb up to the very top of the cupola : read more details here .

best time to visit duomo florence

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Giotto's bell tower, museum of opera del duomo, climb the duomo's cupola, santa maria novella church, santo spirito church, plan your visit.

Piazza Duomo, entrance from front door on the right side

Free entrance (all of the other monuments around the cathedral require a ticket sold as a single pass to visit all of them) Entrance is through left door facing the facade Disabled access through the Porta dei Canonici (south side, around the bell tower) Audio guide rental available inside

Opening hours

Generally open from 10.45am - 4.30pm Sundays and religious holidays: closed

During Holy week - Holy Thursday: 12:30 - 4:30pm Good Friday: 10:30am - 4:30pm Holy Saturday: 11am - 4:45pm

Days of closure

Closed on January 1, Epiphany, Easter, Christmas Day

NOTE: As a religious site, wear appropriate, respectful clothing. You won't be allowed inside if you're wearing short shorts, tank tops, sandals, hats or sunglasses. Access to the Dome, the bell tower and the museum is not allowed with bulky bags and backpacks. The cloakroom is located at the ticket office of the Museum Opera del Duomo.

Please check the official website to double check hours for the day you want to visit:

Top Tours of the Duomo of Florence

Photo gallery.

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Author: Lourdes Flores

I'm from California but have called Florence my home for over a decade. I love to explore Italy; it is a lot of fun to try to see everything like I'm seeing it for the first time, keeping you, our readers, always in mind. I enjoy sharing what I know and helping others as they make their travel plans for Tuscany through our Forum . If you have itinerary-related questions, please post them there!

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17 free things to do in Florence

Angelo Zinna

May 7, 2024 • 11 min read

best time to visit duomo florence

From street art to stellar views across the city, there are plenty of free things to see and do in Florence © Gulcin Ragiboglu / Getty Images

Don’t be deceived by the opulent Renaissance palaces, the gold jewelry shining from Ponte Vecchio’s storefronts and the high-end brands lined up on Via Tornabuoni – Florence doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

The art-filled capital of Tuscany may be brimming with treasures from the past but, contrary to what your wallet might fear, there is no shortage of experiences that come without a price tag.

From meandering through Renaissance architecture to seeking the best viewpoints to admire Brunelleschi’s Duomo from above, there are many opportunities to prove wrong the maxim “you get what you pay for.” What’s more, the free things to do in Florence are often the most neglected by short-term visitors, who tend to gather in and around the major attractions.

Here are some of the riches in Florence that won't cost you a cent.

Looking up into the frescoed dome inside Florence's Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

1. Step into the Duomo

One of Florence’s best-known landmarks, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo , can be visited without a ticket, at least in part. Queue up in Piazza del Duomo to access the cathedral’s sparsely decorated main nave from the portal carved into its 19th-century neo-Gothic facade. 

Entering without a ticket will only allow you to explore the ground floor of the cathedral. If you want to climb the cupola and get a close look at Giudizio Universale , the fresco by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, you’ll need to purchase one of the three passes available from the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore’s official website .

Florence's must-see museums: from the sublime to the Renaissance  

2. Stand under Giotto’s Crocifisso di Ognissanti

Medieval master Giotto is perhaps the biggest name in Florentine pre-Renaissance art. Most of the Gothic artworks still found in Florence are exhibited in the Galleria degli Uffizi , the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Basilica di Santa Croce (all ticketed museums) but it is possible to admire one of Giotto’s gilded crucifixes for free in the Chiesa di Ognissanti .

Believed to have been produced around 1315, Crocifisso di Ognissanti is over 4.5m (14.8ft) tall and hangs in the left wing of the church, near the altar. Chiesa di Ognissanti is also home to the painting Sant'Agostino nello Studio  (St Augustine in His Study) by Sandro Botticelli, who chose to be buried in the church near his muse Simonetta Vespucci.

3. Climb the Rampe del Poggi to Piazzale Michelangelo

Offering one of the most spectacular views of the city, the open terrace known as Piazzale Michelangelo was built as part of Florence’s redevelopment in the late 19th century, shortly after Italy was unified. In charge of the project was architect Giuseppe Poggi, who designed a set of monumental ramps adorned with grottoes and waterfalls that lead to Piazzale Michelangelo from the San Niccolò neighborhood.

The uphill walk starts around Porta San Niccolò , one of the few medieval remnants of this part of the city. Most of the other older buildings were demolished in an attempt to modernize Florence during the brief period (1865–1871) when it was named the capital of Italy.

A replica statue of Michelangelo's "David," cast in bronze, stands on a plinth in Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence

4. Find the “other” Davids

As you reach Piazzale Michelangelo you should see a familiar figure. After completing his project, Poggi decided to place a real-size copy of Michelangelo’s David in the middle of the square. The story goes that 18 oxen were needed to transport the bronze statue to the piazzale in 1873, placing it where it stands as the cherry on top of a monumental cake.

Piazzale Michelangelo’s David is not the only copy of the Renaissance icon (the original is housed inside Galleria dell’Accademia). A second copy is located in Piazza della Signoria, right in front of the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio.

8. Take a close look at the statues of the Loggia dei Lanzi

An open-air museum in the true sense of the term, Loggia dei Lanzi is the terrace opening on Piazza della Signoria that was once used to host the public assemblies, speeches and ceremonies organized by the Florentine government in front of city residents gathered in the square. Today, the loggia houses an impressive collection of Roman and Renaissance statues.

Among the masterpieces on show are Giambologna’s Ratto delle Sabine (Rape of the Sabine Women), dating back to 1583, and the bronze Perseo by Benvenuto Cellini, which has been standing in the loggia since the mid-16th century.

5. Spot Michelangelo’s graffiti

A carved figure etched in the front wall of Palazzo Vecchio has been the subject of speculation for decades, if not centuries. Barely visible near the entrance, the line portrait known as L’Importuno is said to have been created by none other than Michelangelo himself, although clear evidence pointing to the creator of this legendary act of vandalism is lacking.

Many folk legends offer an explanation for the origin of the etching. The most commonly heard story holds that, when Michelangelo stood in this corner of Piazza della Signoria listening to public speeches, he would often be annoyed by an anonymous man who would frequently show up and disturb the artist. Once, the nuisance talked for so long that Michelangelo carved the man’s portrait with his hands behind his back.

A circular no entry sign that has been altered by a street artist to include a cartoon of a police officer.

6. Notice Clet’s altered street signs

Talking of street art, you may notice that some of Florence’s traffic signs have been modified. Look up and you’ll see that one-way signs have become Cupid’s arrows or that no-access signs have turned into guillotines. The artist behind these creative alterations is Clet, who has been changing Florence’s urban landscape for the past two decades by adding his ironic commentary to the city’s furniture. Clet’s studio is also open to the public – you can visit the space where the artist works in the San Niccolò area.

7. Learn more about Florentine street art

Clet is not the only street artist active in Florence. While walking down the city's narrow streets you can spot works by artists such as Blub, Exit/Enter, Ache 77 and many others who have added a touch of color to buildings old and new.

The best place to learn more about the local street art scene is Street Levels Gallery , the first gallery in Florence to be fully dedicated to urban art. Visit the art space in Via Palazzuolo, where you’ll find exhibitions showcasing movable pieces by some of the most creative names in Italian street art.

9. Admire Andrea del Sarto’s monochrome frescoes at Chiostro dello Scalzo

Housed inside the former headquarters of the Compagnia dei Disciplinati di San Giovanni Battista, a religious congregation founded in the 14th century, is the cloister known as the Chiostro dello Scalzo . It's here that Renaissance artist Andrea del Sarto completed one of the most impressive cycles of monochrome painting between 1509 and 1526. The artwork, covering most of the cloister’s walls, tells the story of John the Baptist, Florence’s patron saint, through 10 scenes starting from his birth to his holy endeavors as an adult.

Planning tip: The Chiostro dello Scalzo is free to visit, but it is only open between 8:15am and 1:45pm Monday to Saturday.

People walking along Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge lined with shops selling high end goods such as jewelry

10. Cross Ponte Vecchio

Built in 1345, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio is one of the city’s many architectural wonders. The only Florentine bridge to survive the Nazi bombing of 1944, Ponte Vecchio features 48 stores perched on its three stone arches.

In the Middle Ages these uneven shops were used by butchers and fishmongers. But in 1593 Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici, who could not stand the smell of meat and the insalubrious state of the market, evicted all businesses involved in “vile arts.” From then on, only goldsmiths and jewelers were allowed to trade on the bridge.

Today, the bridge is still populated by luxurious stores showcasing watches and diamonds in their windows. For some of the best views of Ponte Vecchio at sunset, head to the next bridge, Ponte Santa Trinità , and see Florence’s icon turn red as the last rays hit its walls.

Planning tip: Ponte Vecchio can be extremely crowded during the day. Plan for a visit in the evening to catch resident street musician Claudio Spadi playing his guitar by the bust of Benvenuto Cellini.

11. Count the uncountable bees behind Ferdinando I

Head to Piazza Santissima Annunziata to find an equestrian statue of Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici standing right in the middle of the square, between the baroque Chiesa di Santissima Annunziata and the Museo degli Innocenti . Walk behind the monument to see the swarm of bees embossed on its pedestal.

According to a local legend, these bees – a symbol of power in 16th-century Florence – are impossible to count from a distance. Nevertheless, it's worth taking a few steps away from the statues to give in to the challenge, because it's said that those who succeed will be rewarded with a stroke of luck.

12. Admire Andrea del Castagno’s Last Supper

The Benedictine Monastery of St Apollonia, founded in 1339, used to function as the largest women's monastery in Florence. The freely accessible Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia hosts an impressive piece of Renaissance art, the Ultima Cena (Last Supper) ,  painted on one of the walls by Andrea del Castagno in 1447. The detailed fresco stretches for nearly 10m (33ft) across the room, surrounded by fading biblical scenes that adorn the rest of this fascinating monastery.

A large room lined with floor-to-ceiling wooden cabinets where antique apothecary items are on display

13. Visit one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe

The Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is said to be one of the oldest pharmacies continuously operating in Europe, thanks to documents mentioning its activity as early as 1221. Dominican monks of the nearby Basilica di Santa Maria Novella began producing ointments with the herbs grown in the church’s cloister in the Middle Ages, setting the foundation for the pharmacy that would open to the public in 1612.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Officina Profumo Farmaceutica began specializing in perfumes and fragrances, catering to wealthy Florentines and the trail of foreign Grand Tourists reaching the city from northern Europe. Enter via the flowery doorway in Via della Scala to explore the scented rooms furnished with walnut cabinets containing hundreds of bottles.

14. Take a literary tour of Florence

Did you know that Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote much of his novel The Idiot while living in Florence? A plaque in Piazza Pitti marks the house in which the Russian author sojourned, steps away from the homes of other international literary figures.

English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for instance, lived in Piazza San Felice, while Beatrice Shakespeare and Edward Claude Shakespeare Clench, the last descendants of William Shakespeare, are buried in the monumental Cimitero degli Inglesi.

15. Admire hidden baroque ceiling frescoes

Once the headquarters of the Vanchetoni Congregation (a Franciscan brotherhood founded in the late 16th century and led by Ippolito Galantini), the disused Oratorio dei Vanchetoni houses a spectacular ceiling covered in 13 frescoes. The works were painted around 1640 by artists such as Domenico Pugliani, Il Volterrano and Lorenzo Lippi.

Planning tip: The Oratorio dei Vanchetoni, one of Santa Maria Novella’s best-kept secrets, is open to the public on Saturdays between 3pm and 5pm.

A vendor stands behind the refrigerated display counter of a stall selling cold meats, cheeses and dry goods in Florence's Mercato Centrale

16. Stroll the markets

The streets of the San Lorenzo neighborhood, where you’ll find the historic leather market and the covered Mercato Centrale , are typically some of the busiest in Florence. While the city’s most famous market makes for an obvious stop, there are many other markets worth visiting in Florence.

The Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio opens daily until 2pm, while the weekly Mercato delle Cascine stretches for over 1km (0.6 miles) in Florence’s biggest park every Tuesday morning. On the second Saturday of the month Piazza Santo Spirito hosts its famous antiques market and smaller markets pop up in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza Ognissanti weekly.

17. Gaze at colorful Florentine mosaics

Finally, if you've already chosen to pay for a ticket to the Uffizi, don't forget to visit the other museums that are included for free as part of your admission. 

Opificio delle Pietre Dure  is a small museum on Via degli Alfani that exhibits a series of artworks made using the little-known  commesso technique, or Florentine mosaic. En vogue during the Renaissance, Florentine mosaics were produced by artisans who combined precisely cut precious stones in vivid colors to form still-life scenes, landscapes and even portraits.

The most spectacular example of a Florentine mosaic covers the interior of the Cappella dei Principi in the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee , where many members of the Medici family are buried. A few artisans working in the city still take on commissions to create unique pieces of furniture using the old commesso technique.

The ticket to the Uffizi also includes entry into the Museo Archeologico in Piazza San Marco, which exhibits a vast collection of Etruscan relics.

Keep planning your trip to Florence:

Looking for more great experiences? Here are our top picks in Florence Check out these  budget friendly tips  before you book  Explore beyond the city with these day trips from Florence

This article was first published Oct 26, 2021 and updated May 7, 2024.

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Tuscany, Italy   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Peter Zelei Images | Getty Images

best time to visit duomo florence

10 Best Things To Do in Tuscany, Italy

Updated Apr. 24, 2024

Sipping local wines and dipping bread into just-pressed smooth olive oils is one of the main things to do in this Italian region. Luckily, there are numerous wineries where you can to do this, such as  Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona in Montalcino

  • All Things To Do

best time to visit duomo florence

Florence Florence free

Firenze, Tuscany's capital city, is known for its Renaissance art and architecture. You can climb to the top of the Duomo , gaze at Botticellis at the Uffizi Gallery , tour the Galleria dell'Accademia  and stroll through the Boboli Gardens for a taste of the 13th through 16th centuries.

But this city isn't just for art and architecture connoisseurs: There are quaint shops, delicious restaurants and decadent hotels. And with its red roofs, cobble stone streets and narrow alleys, it's also a very picturesque place to spend a few days. Be sure to hike to the top of the Piazza Michaelangelo, located across the Ponte Vecchio, for incredible city views and live music. Bring a bottle wine and watch the sunset — you won't want to miss it. For more information on this city, visit our Florence travel guide . 

best time to visit duomo florence

Siena Siena free

Siena vies with Florence for the title of the most charming city in Tuscany. While Firenze is known for its Renaissance influence, Siena exemplifies the Gothic era, and you'll find that near-pristine Gothic architecture fills the city. One of Siena's main attractions is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The breathtaking Piazza del Campo is a city square that sits at the base of three majestic hills. While you're there, climb to the top of Torre del Mangia (a part of the Palazzo Pubblico) for an awe-inspiring view of Siena.

As for museums, visitors find the Museale di Santa Maria della Scala and the Museo Archeologico are each worth a few hours of their time. And when it comes to churches, recent travelers recommend visiting several: the Siena Cathedral (or Il Duomo) for its beauty; the Cathedral of the Assunta for the surrounding landscape; and the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore for its wine cellar. 

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Lucca Lucca free

Located in northwest Tuscany and less than 20 miles from Pisa, this town is famous for its 16th-century walls — recent travelers recommend riding a bike atop them to get the best views. Or consider climbing to the top of the Guinigi Tower where you can overlook the entire city.  There's also a rendition of the Duomo, called the  Cattedrale di San Martino.

Luca is also praised for its native son Giacomo Puccini, who composed such operatic masterpieces as "Madame Butterfly" and "La Bohème," so art is aplenty.  And art aficionados recommend popping into L.U.C.C.A. (Lucca Center of Contemporary Art) or strolling by the art show every third weekend of the month by the Piazzetta San Carlo to see local works of art. 

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Popular Tours

Tuscany Day Trip from Florence: Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Lunch at a Winery

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Cinque Terre Cinque Terre free

Cinque Terre is a group of cinque (five) villages — Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia — strung along cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. Since it became both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park in the past couple of decades, the area has been saved from the commercialism that pervades most European cities today.

Visitors like to hike Cinque Terre's leafy crags; Via dell'Amour is a popular (and well-paved!) walk that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore. The trail with the best ocean views is from Vernazza to Monterosso. Unfortunately, this hike is also the most challenging and isn't for the faint of heart, as the trail (or lack thereof) is unpaved and involves lots of climbing under and over various terrain. To avoid the crowds and the heat, recent travelers recommend hiking in the morning. And if you're not up for hiking from town to town, you can always catch the train that runs along the coast and stops at each town. 

best time to visit duomo florence

Sovestro in Poggio Winery Sovestro in Poggio Winery

Sovestro in Poggio Winery is a farming estate filled with fields of grapes and olives. The estate produces wines like the Tribolo and Chianti, as well as its own extra virgin olive oil called Bagatto. Like many of the estate wineries, Sovestro in Poggio also contains overnight accommodations. Recent visitors are almost unanimous in their praise for this estate, saying the scenery was "breathtaking," the food was "delicious" and the wine was "perfect."

You'll find Sovestro in Poggio Winery in central Tuscany in the small town of San Gimignano. Although some recent travelers say the experience here is expensive, most say it's worth it. Reservations are mandatory for all visits. For more information, visit the estate's website . 

best time to visit duomo florence

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona produces wines, grappas and olive oils in a beautiful swath of southern Tuscany. The estate itself dates back to the 17th century, making it a great stop for historians as well as gourmands.

If you plan on visiting this winery, you'll want to be sure to take a guided tour. Recent visitors rave about the talented tour guides and their abundant amount of wine knowledge  — you'll be a wine connoisseur by the time you leave.  Tours give visitors access to all three of the wine cellars where you can learn how wine is produced.  You'll find the winery in Montalcino on the hills flanking the Orcia River. For more information on this winery, visit its website . 

best time to visit duomo florence

Castello del Trebbio Castello del Trebbio

Castello del Trebbio hosts everything from a winery to a restaurant (and cooking classes) to accommodations. It's hard to pin down just what visitors like most about the experience. Some say its the family-run winery with simply tasty wine and olive oil. Others say the 12th-century castle's ambiance is the coolest, while some find tasting different Chianti vintages and learning to make Italian pasta the most satisfying part about this estate winery.

And here's an interesting historic tidbit: This castle was once owned by the Pazzi family, the arch enemies of another powerful Italian family, the Medicis. You'll find this winery on the outskirts of Florence .  Weddings are held here frequently, so be sure to call ahead for reservations.  For more information, visit its website . 

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Castello di Verrazzano Castello di Verrazzano

Visitors to the Castello di Verrazzano say its mix of warm hospitality, scenic beauty and delicious wine that is absolutely divine. Dating back to the 14th century, the estate also produces olive oil, honey, grappa and balsamic vinegar. So if you want to bring back a few souvenirs, Castello di Verrazzano has you covered — just know that you can buy the same wines cheaper at the local grocery store.

Many recommend booking the three-hour winery tour with lunch rather than just the winery tour itself, saying the food makes it worth the extra time and money. You'll learn how to properly pair and taste wine during the multicourse lunch. But if you're a vegetarian, recent travelers recommend skipping the lunch as the majority of the meal is different kinds of meats and not worth the extra cash. 

best time to visit duomo florence

Florence Sunset Walking Tour with Wine & Food Tasting

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Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking

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Florence Vespa Tour: Tuscan Hills and Italian Cuisine

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best time to visit duomo florence

Castello di Volpaia Castello di Volpaia

Castello di Volpaia is much more than a winery — it's an entire village, and a 11th-century one at that. The former churches, homes and underground passages have been converted into wine cellars, bottling plants, tasting bars, olive presses and even an underground wineduct. Visitors can even do some hiking in the surrounding countryside; the Enoteca (or shop) sells hiking itineraries, some of which can take up to three hours to finish.

Guests rave about this estate nearby the breathtaking Radda di Chianti.  You can also stay overnight in the castello's apartments or villas. You'll discover several delectable dining options around town and, of course, plenty of wine tastings. Various cooking and food classes are also offered, such as lessons on combining food and wine and how to serve Italian style. For more information on this winery, visit its website .

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Oh, the Leaning Tower of Pisa — so touristy and yet so fun. Each day, hordes of visitors come to the small northwestern Tuscan town of Pisa to take pictures "propping up" its tower. Some do it with their entire bodyweight while others hold it with a finger. Even just watching other tourists take pictures is pretty entertaining. 

At about 183 feet tall, the tower leans at about four degrees, meaning that at the top, it's displaced nearly 13 feet from its bottom. Yikes! And yet, it's still architecturally sound enough for visitors to walk up its nearly 300 steps to the top. And spying the exorbitant price of walking to the top ( € 18 EUR), most travelers recommend snagging a few free pictures from the ground level. 

best time to visit duomo florence

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  1. Visiting and climbing the Duomo of Florence: tips and tricks

    The best time to visit the cathedral, when the line is shorter, is as soon as it opens. Try to queue at least 10-15 minutes before opening. Cathedral of Florence (Duomo) opening hours: Open from 10.15 am to 4.45 pm, every day except Sundays and religious holidays. Find the best part of Florence to stay.

  2. Visiting the Duomo in Florence: Complete Guide + Tips!

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  4. Visiting the Duomo in Florence, Italy: Important Tips!

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