Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore- What you need to know
The greatest expression of Florentine architecture is found in Piazza San Giovanni and Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), with the Baptistry of St. John, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Fiore, also known as the “Duomo”. The first stone was laid in 1296, following designs by Arnolfo di Cambio, and the works lasted 170 years. The project underwent various modifications of the extension made by Francesco Talenti. The chapels were finished in the early 15th century, while the enormous dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, took only 16 years to build. The lantern, also designed by Brunelleschi, was finished after his death, while the gilded copper ball containing sacred relics, made by Andrea del Verrocchio, was installed in 1466.
Next to the Duomo (Cathedral) is the bell tower, in pure Gothic style, begun by Giotto in 1334. After his death, the work was continued by Andrea Pisano, and finished in 1359 by Francesco Talenti. Its niches house 56 reliefs and 16 statues, all life-size, representing patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel, by the greatest Florentine masters of the 14th and 15th centuries, including Andrea Pisano, Donatello and Luca Della Robbia. The originals of all the sculptures are in the Duomo Museum (Museo dell’Opera).
The Baptistry of St. John is the oldest monument in Piazza San Giovanni, and was already present in the fifth or perhaps sixth century, already in octagonal form, symbolising “the eighth day” the time of the Risen Christ. But it was after the mid-eleventh century, during the economic and political affirmation of the city of Florence, that the Baptistry was rebuilt and decorated with fine marble. The works of sculpture that number it among the most famous monuments are its three bronze doors, the oldest of which was made by Andrea Pisano in 1330, depicting the life of John the Baptist; this was followed by the one made by Lorenzo Ghiberti, and finally by the door that Michelangelo called the door of Paradise, also made by Ghiberti from 1425 -1450.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore at a Glance
When to visit: Monday/Sunday From February the museum will be closed on the first Tuesday of each month.
Opening hours: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm
Ticket Price: € 15,00 Access with a single ticket to all monuments
Directions: Piazza San Giovanni, Florence
Our Best Tips: Opening Hours for: Cathedral 10:00-17:00 / Dome 08:30-18:20 / Baptistry 08:15-10:15-11:15-18:30 / Crypt 10:00-17:00 / Museum 09:00-19:00
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