Santa Maria del Fiore (Holy Mary of Flowers) is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, known for its impressive Renaissance and Neo-Gothic design style and the magnificent dome – the Duomo. The term Duomo in Italian means a church that was once or is now a cathedral.
The cathedral includes the Piazza del Duomo, the spectacular Bell Tower of Bondone, the Cathedral Museum, and Florence’s Baptistery. This has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The construction of the cathedral and the dome of the Duomo have a significant role in the development of Italian Renaissance architecture because their construction required sophisticated engineering equipment and special machines, which were invented specially for it! The cathedral’s construction began in the 13th century and lasted no less than two hundred years, but only in the 19th century was its facade completed.
The cathedral is named after the city of Florence and its symbol – flowers. The one who financed the construction of the cathedral was the Medici house, which contributed a lot to the construction of important historical buildings in Florence. The cathedral was designed as a basilica with a Latin cross, a nave (nave), and four side aisles. Everywhere you look, you will come across beautiful decorations, sculptures, wall paintings, and decorations that fit together perfectly. In the cathedral, you will also see 44 huge, impressive stained glass windows.
The cathedral’s interior is spectacular in its beauty, and its impressive dimensions are breathtaking. The cathedral’s dome is an unbelievable height of 103 meters, while its diameter reaches 43 meters. The bell tower rises to a height of 85 meters.
Entrance to the Duomo is free, but if you want to climb the dome, visit the bell tower, the Baptistery, and the museum, you will have to buy an entrance ticket costing 20 euros, which will get you fast entry without waiting in line to buy the tickets in the cathedral itself and is valid for 48 hours from the moment of visiting the first site.
History buffs are highly recommended to take a guided tour detailing the fascinating history of the cathedral’s construction and life in Florence at that time. The cost for a guided tour is an additional 4-5 euros.
Note that this is a religious building, you must wear modest clothing when entering it – closed shoes, a long shirt or jacket, and long skirts/dresses or long pants.