The Duomo, Bell Tower and Baptistry

2:31:00 PM Unknown 2 Comments

"For 1600 years, the center of Florence's religious life has been the square known as Piazza del Duomo...this area evokes 'the holy city, the new Jerusalem' where God lives among men.  At the heart of the city of man, this city of God bears witness to the age old belief in a solidarity between God and human beings."   Quoted from the Piazza del Duomo pamphlet.

Wow, I don't know who wrote that, but it beautifully describes the piazza and perhaps gives  us a glimpse into the motivation behind those who used only the finest and most precious materials to construct these edifices to God.  

This area is congested with tourists and hemmed in by other buildings so it is hard to get quality photographs--I swiped the one above from the internet.
The Details
Duomo--free to enter
Hours: typically 10am-5pm, but double check the sign out front. Come early in the morning or late in afternoon to avoid the long line.  If you choose to stand in line, don't worry--it moves quickly.
Tip:  The church isn't all that--the interior is plain compared to others in the city. The impressive part is the exterior and climbing into the dome.

The Dome  The reason to climb the the 463 steps into the dome is for views like this one (I swiped this photo too) and to get an up close view of the Last Judgement painted by Vasari & students in 1572.  The gruesome devil eating  a damned soul certainly must have motivated people for good!
Cost: €10 combo ticket allows access to 5 monuments. Discounted for students/children.  You have 24 hours from the first validation to see all the sites.  Best money we spent in Florence.
Hours: M-F 8:30am-7pm, Sat 8:30am-5:40pm. Last admission 40 minutes before closing.
Tip: I've never not seen a long line for the dome and it does not move fast.  Best views are  in the morning and at sunset--unfortunately everyone knows this, so prepare to wait. If you are claustrophobic be aware there are tight spaces and narrow stairways.

The Baptistry was a surprise!  We would not have gone in except that my 9 year old was insistent upon seeing one of the doors and I am so glad we did, it is gorgeous inside.  The gold mosaic ceiling reminded me of St. Mark's in Venice.
Cost: €10 combo ticket allows access to 5 monuments on the piazza. Discounted for students/children
Hours:  11:15am-7pm
Tip: The line (shortest of all on the plaza) moves quickly.  Bring binoculars
Naturally, the ceiling tells a religious story. Namely, the last judgement, stories from the life of Christ, & stories from Genesis.  The ceiling is certainly worth the ache you will feel in your neck! 
Giotto's Bell Tower
Cost: €10 combo ticket allows access to 5 monuments on/near the piazza. Discounted for students/children.  You have 24 hours from the first validation to see all the sites.
Hours: 8:30am-7:30pm
Tip: We bought our ticket at the end of the day about 45 minutes before closing.  There was no line and we got a night time view of the city.  If you are going to climb the tower and dome they recommend doing one of them at night.  I am glad we did because the view of the city aglow is magical.


  1. Love your shot of this from up in the dome. Awesome!

  2. book duomo florence ticket online from trusted website like, and getyourguide