When thinking of Florence, one particular Renaissance church instantly comes to mind: Santa Maria del Fiore and its famous dome, more commonly known as the Duomo. In this 3.5-hour Duomo Tour we dive into the entire complex of the Florence Cathedral, including the Baptistry and Duomo Museum, with a local historian.
Duomo Complex Tour
We begin our Duomo Complex Tour at the Baptistry, an 11th century structure that the Florentines believed was originally a Roman temple. (We will get a glimpse of the ancient structure below the floor, now thought to be a Roman house.) We will spend some time discussing the architectural decoration on the exterior of the building, and how this mixture of green and white marble later became the “house style” of Renaissance Florence. Inside, in the shadow of the absolutely stunning Italo-Byzantine mosaics, we will look at the context of the medieval period, and how the great architects, like Brunelleschi, were as much inspired by old Florence as they were by Rome, Greece, and classical models. We'll also marvel at the Duomo's original bronze doors, now housed inside the Baptistry.
Following a renovation process that took over two and a half years, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is once again open to the public, and it is a breathtaking stop on our Duomo Tour. Housing the collected works of art commissioned by or for the church, we will examine the art and sculptures that have adorned the interior and exterior of the cathedral throughout the ages. We'll also study a cross-section of Brunelleschi's gravity-defying dome, deepening our appreciation for his engineering marvel. Our time in the museum will bring together ideas of art, the Church, and Florence.
Florence Cathedral - Brunelleschi’s Masterpiece
The Duomo is its own unique character in this story, with a long, dramatic story of its design and construction. We’ll talk about Brunelleschi while standing in front of the facade, where many historians believe he set up his “perspective machine” to establish, for the first time since antiquity, a system for mathematical perspective.
Our tour will conclude here, outside the Duomo. Due to increased security measures, the line can be quite long to enter—however, if we choose to go inside after parting ways with our docent, we will be well-equipped to appreciate the Duomo's stately interior and extravagant dome, furnished with knowledge we'll have learned over the course of the tour.
Having lingered amongst some of the most breathtaking monuments in the city, we will walk away having learned new ways of seeing and thinking about this famous piece of architecture. We will have admired some of Florence's most famous monuments, having learned the fascinating history of their construction, the political context for their adornments, and what they can tell us about the city of Florence.
Do you pre-purchase tickets?
The Duomo does not sell tickets ahead of time. You will be responsible for the ticket costs (One single ticket will also allow access to the sights of the Complex of Santa Maria del Fiore: Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista, the Crypt of Santa Reparata in Florence Cathedral and the Duomo Gallery now comprise “The Great Cathedral Museum.” The ticket price is €18 per person and gives the right of access to all the 5 monuments)
Does this tour include climbing Brunelleschi's dome?
No. Climbing the dome is not the best use of the expert's time, however, the expert is happy to assist in making the necessary reservations to do the climb on your own. Please note that the dome climb is not good for anyone who is claustrophobic or afraid of heights.
Does it cost extra to climb the dome?
No -- the Duomo Complex tickets we use for the tour includes all the venues within the complex. The tickets are good for 72-hours after purchasing so you will be able to use the same ticket from the tour to do the dome climb on your own. But, you must reserve a time slot to climb the dome once on site.