Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)#2 in Best Things To Do in Florence
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The Cattedrale 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 Reparata. 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 (the cupola) where you'll find spectacular views of the city. (Be aware that there is no elevator and some of the narrow walkways require you to stand to the side while people pass in the opposite direction.) However, if you are interested in looking around inside, guided tours are available.
The Duomo is open to visitors Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to either 4 or 5 p.m., while the cupola climb is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. If you're mostly there to climb the 463 stairs, it's best to try and get there as soon as the doors open to beat the crowds. The 24-hour OPA pass costs 15 euros (about $18), and grants you admission to all five monuments in Piazza Duomo, including the cupola climb. You are also welcome to attend Mass and other religious ceremonies. For more information, visit the Duomo page on Florence's tourism website.
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Loggia dei Lanzi, in the Piazza della Signoria, is an open-air (and free) museum that was designed in the 14th century by Orcagna, an influential architect and artist. Below the building's curved arches are dozens of sculptures (notable ones include Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Cellini's Perseus), which draw
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