Il Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)

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Piazza San Giovanni, Florence, Italy

Il Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) Florence Reviews

vances vances
462 reviews
Doing the dome May 16, 2012
I guess I am compelled to log a review of Brunelleschi’s splendid dome for no other reason than it has been a lifelong aspiration to climb its heights. There is plenty of info available but I will attempt to complement that with a brief overview and personal insights.

There are three parts to the overall complex: the cathedral (the basilica or bapistry), the dome and the bell tower (the campanile). There is no charge to enter the cathedral; 8€ to climb the dome, and; 6€ for the campanile. We only scaled the dome, so I can’t offer details about the others, though I will share you can start your journey up the dome as late as 6:30PM and we entered very near closing time, delighted by minimal crowds for a UNESCO World heritage site.

The initial ascent revolves around a spiral staircase for quite a ways, spilling you out onto a walkway at the very base of the great dome. From this vantage point you look way down into the sacred interior and way up to the fascinating fresco of the Last Judgment by Vasari. At this point you realize just how massive the structure is, because it becomes apparent there is still a ways to go reach the very top.

Returning to the ascent, the stairwells grow tighter (though never as claustrophobic as the Scott Memorial in Edinburgh!) as you proceed to the lookout of the crowning cupola. Peering over Florence from this rarefied perch is beyond words. Between looking down into the heart of Florence and scanning the Tuscan countryside, your eyes bounce from one miracle to another. Though it was quite windy up here, we were surprised the breeze wasn’t chilly and were pleasantly comfortable.

To truly appreciate the ingenuity behind this marvel, I suggest picking up a copy of “Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture” by Ross King before your visit. For almost 600 years Brunelleschi’s creation has reigned as the world’s largest dome built from bricks and mortar, withstanding several earthquakes to retain the title. A must see if you make it to Florence!
Firenze Duomo - the sweeping views…
Vasari's splendid "Final Judgment"…
Say Halo to the Basilica...
Climbing up the Duomo …
montecarlostar says:
This is an absolute MUST in Florence... I didn't have the chance to go in, but the exterior is absolutely fantastic... I knew about it because it's the cover of Civilization IV haha one of my favorite computer games ever :)
Posted on: Jun 01, 2012
vances says:
lol, Vikram...but that's the beauty of going up right before they close each evening. Really wasn't crowded up there --- now St. Peter's at the Vatican, was quite a different story!
Posted on: Jun 01, 2012
Vikram says:
I really liked the Duomo just that it gets so darn busy with tourists. I experienced the same things you wrote, except that I'd have added how one needs to stamp several people's feet in order to get a good view. And heaven help those that carry their heavy DSLR cameras.
Posted on: May 31, 2012
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ofSaints ofSaints
2 reviews the dome. Jul 05, 2012
This enormous church is an incredible site to see and the history and technology behind the construction of the dome is mind blowing. Walking in through the doors you are welcomed to an enormous open space that makes you feel small. Are covers the walls and ceilings but dont be taken by the obvious and forget to look down and the beautiful marble floor. If you have the opportunity to stay for a mass do so beside your beliefs, do so to sit in a seat and relive what others did 15th century. You can pay to go up the dome but I did not have the opportunity to take in that view.
lookingforsun lookingf…
1 reviews
Amazing site at the top Apr 05, 2011
The Duomo in Florence is definitely worth a visit, the best part was to climb up it (although there is often a queue,it doesn't take too long until your in). There are many steps, but once you reach the top you can walk around and the view is amazing. Another interesting part is being so close to all the art work on the cupola of the church.I would recommend the Duomo, and hope you enjoy it as much as i did.
Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Dazzling dome Oct 11, 2010
Built in the thirteenth century, Il Duomo is the principal cathedral of Florence. Apart from the cathedral proper, it is well known for its wonderful dome and the Giotto’s Campanile.

The cathedral itself can be entered for free and for the Campanile and dome, there is a fee of several euros each.

I particularly recommend you visit this cathedral just for the dome itself. On the inside, there is The Last Judgement, a great piece of art which was ordered by Grand Duke Cosimo I and took the painters Vasari and Zuccari almost a decade to complete in the sixteenth century. The result is sublime. The figures are so fresh and captivating, and there is just so much going on, your neck hurts after staring at it for so long or your brain becomes tired after trying to soak it all up.

I did go to see the dome at the top and highly recommend you do the same. It is very good in the late afternoon for a sunset viewing. The walk is steep, hundreds of stairs to climbs up so you’ll need fairly decent leg muscles and lungs. While you get to the top of the dome, you get to see The Last Judgement up close. On the ground floor, I enjoyed the overview. With a closer eye though, you get to see the brush strokes and shades of colours in more detail. On the top of the dome, the views are incredible. You can see the Campanile and a stunning overview of the Florence skyline. Well worth the effort and money.

This has to be one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. While in Florence, I saw the dome of this cathedral on more than several occasions and was never tired of its splendour. Go see it!
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