Duomo Florence Tours | Explore the Jewel of Florence With an Expert Guide
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Florence, the Duomo (also known as Santa Maria del Fiore) is an architectural masterpiece designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1436. A culmination of the artistic imaginations of many artists and architects, the cathedral is inspired by Gothic culture and has several elements of the Italian Renaissance period. The iconic Dome is not just one of the largest in the world but also unique because it can support itself without collapsing. The cathedral is also the largest masonry structure in the world built using more than four million bricks that weighed over 40,000 tonnes.
Take a guided tour of the complex and delve into its rich history, incredible architecture, and artistic brilliance. The perfect way to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site is by going on a guided tour. Read on to know more about the Duomo Florence tours!
Why Take a Duomo Florence Tour?
The Duomo Florence is one of the most popular and most visited landmarks in Florence. Here are a few reasons why you should go on a Duomo Florence tour.
Highlights Covered on Your Duomo Florence Tour
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Dedicated to Saint Mary, the enormous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore’s red, green, and white façade along with the towering dome stands out making it the most recognizable landmark in Florence. Twelve Apostles with St. Mary and Child adorn the front façade of the Cathedral while the interiors are decorated with paintings and frescoes including The Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari were hand painted on the underside of the dome.
Crypt of Santa Reparata
An archaeological excavation beneath the cathedral from 1965 to 1973 revealed the ruins of the old cathedral of Saint Reparata in Florence. If you climb down an old stairway, it will lead you to the Crypt that still contains the remains of the old basilica as well as Filippo Brunelleschi’s tomb tucked away in a corner. The mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 8th century provide visitors with a better understanding of the city’s landscape as well as the importance and prevalence of art during the time.
Baptistry of San Giovanni
Located opposite the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the octagonal-shaped Baptistry of San Giovanni is one of the oldest buildings in Florence built in the Florentine Romanesque style. It is built using white Carrara and green Prato marble and covered by a dome of eight segments resting on perimetral walls. The Baptistry is known for the large bronze doors adorned with relief sculptures and the intricate mosaic décor dating back to the 13th century. Do not miss out on the beautiful painting of The Angelic Hosts at the center of its massive dome.
The Bell Tower
Giotto’s Campanile or the Bell Tower is one of the most powerful examples of 14th-century Gothic architecture in Florence. This 84-feet tall white, red, and green marble structure offers an unparalleled bird’s eye view of the city. The tower is adorned with beautiful artworks by great artists like Donatello and Pisano. Also, notice the seven hanging bells at the Campanile, each of which plays a different sound. The tower is a photographer’s paradise since it offers panoramic views of the site, the dome, and the façade of the cathedral.
Brunelleschi’s Dome is the main highlight and an architectural masterpiece capable of withstanding natural disasters like lightning strikes, earthquakes, and time. Octagonal in shape, the dome is crowned by a lantern with a conical roof and a cross containing holy relics on top. A narrow stairway with 463 steps leads visitors to the top of the dome offering a close look at the hand painted frescoes adorning the inside of the structure. The top of this free-standing dome offers spectacular and captivating views of the city of Florence making it an astounding addition to the Italian skyline.
Museo Dell’ Opera Del Duomo
Founded in 1891, the Museo Dell’ Opera Del Duomo (museum) houses one of the most important and beautiful collections of sculptures and other objects of art in the world. Spread across three floors, the museum comprises 28 rooms exhibiting the artworks of greats like Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, and several others. The museum is home to original masterpieces created by these artists for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Campanile, and Baptistry of San Giovanni. This museum within a museum represents the faith, art, and rich history of the city of Florence.
A stairway consisting of 150 steps inside Dead North Tribune leads visitors to the open north and south terraces of the Cathedral from where you can get a closer look at Brunelleschi’s Dome and soak in the incredible views of the city of Florence and its various landmarks. Built at a height of 32 metres, the terraces offer you an opportunity to touch the magnificent dome or the Cupola as well as admire its stunning marble decorations. The terraces were originally built to be used by workers responsible for the maintenance of the Cathedral, but were opened to the public in 1985.
Guided Tours vs Non-Guided Tours
What to Expect on a Duomo Florence Guided Tour?
The Duomo Florence is a huge complex. You might feel a little overwhelmed or find it difficult to navigate the attraction all by yourself, which is why we recommend booking a guided tour for yourself. It includes a tour guide who knows the attraction like the back of their hand making them the best person to tap into for more insight, facts, and interesting stories about the history of the Duomo Florence, the Cathedral, and the other attractions on the site. They will be able to enhance your experience by telling you all that there is to know about this architectural masterpiece.
The Duomo Florence tour includes a visit to all the important spots inside the complex. You will be taken to the enormous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore where you can admire the brilliant architecture and artworks inside the Renaissance-era landmark that took about 140 years to build. Explore the Bell Tower, Baptistry, Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the museum. Marvel at Brunelleschi’s Dome – one of the largest in the world. Make your way to the top of the Dome and the terraces of the cathedral for panoramic views of the city of Florence.
- Book your tickets online and in advance.
- Wear comfortable shoes because you will have to walk and climb a lot.
- Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered when you visit the Cathedral. Do not wear hats or caps. Avoid wearing plunging necklines.
- Early morning hours on weekdays are the best time to visit if you wish to avoid crowds and long queues.
- No food and drinks are allowed inside the premises.
- It is mandatory to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks before you enter the site. You will also have to wear social distancing sensors, which produce a sound if a distance of 2 meters is not maintained.
- If you suffer from heart disease, claustrophobia, or vertigo, do not climb the Dome. Pregnant women and those with reduced mobility should also avoid the same.
- The Duomo complex is wheelchair friendly and easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Frequently Asked Questions About Duomo Florence Tours
A. Duomo Florence tours start from €22.
A. There are four types of Duomo Florence tours available – Guided Tour to the Duomo with Access to the Cupola, Florence Duomo Express Guided Tour, Florence Half-Day Tour – Uffizi and Accademia Galleries with Florence Cathedral, and Exclusive Tour of Florence Duomo with Dome and Secret Terraces Access.
A. The Duomo Florence tour includes all the major points of interest like Brunelleschi’s Dome, Cathedral of Santa Maria de Fiore, Baptistry of San Giovanni, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Crypt of Santa Reparata.
A. The Duomo Florence tours are available in three languages – English, Italian, and Spanish.
A. The Duomo Florence guided tour covers all the major attractions inside including Brunelleschi’s Dome, Cathedral of Santa Maria de Fiore, Baptistry of San Giovanni, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Crypt of Santa Reparata.
A. It depends on the type of Duomo Florence tour you book. The small group guided tour will have no more than 10 people while the other guided tours have a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
A. Yes. The Duomo Florence guided tour is worth it because it is an architectural masterpiece and the largest masonry structure in the world. It is home to a unique and one-of-a-kind Dome that can support itself without collapsing.
A. Yes. The Duomo Florence guided tours include skip the line access.
A. Duomo Florence tours can be anywhere between 45 minutes to six and a half hours long depending on the tour you book.