Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)
- Type: Churches/Religious Sites
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
|About these ratings|
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (known simply as the Duomo) is not only Florence's religious center, it's also the city's most recognizable attraction. Occupying the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city, this massive Gothic cathedral was erected during the 14th century on the former site of the Roman church, Santa Reparate. You'll know you're in the right place when you find yourself straining your neck to see the church's massive, iconic dome. The red-tiled cupola was designed by Brunelleschi and is described as a must-see by experts and travelers alike.
Visitors like to joke that the cathedral was designed inside-out: its exterior boasts intricate designs and breathtaking features while the interior is surprisingly plain. For many, the main reason to visit is to climb to the top of the dome where you'll find spectacular views of the city. (Be aware that there is no elevator). However, if you are interested in looking around inside, guided tours are available.
The Duomo is open to visitors every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the dome itself is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. You can look around the cathedral for free, but in order to climb the 463 stairs to the top of the dome, you'll have to pay about $10 USD (€8). You are also welcome to attend Mass and other religious ceremonies. For more information, visit the official website.