Visiting the Duomo, or “The House of God” is a must do when visiting Florence. There is a “One Ticket” you can purchase for $10 EU, that is valid for a 24 hour period to visit 4 areas as noted below. We only went up the dome, but in hind sight I wish we would have done them all. Looking on the bright side, it leaves me something else to do when I return.
The first thing you notice when you approach the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the Bell Tower. The link above is in Italian, and the official site of the Vestry of the Cathedral of Florence, in charge of maintaining it. Lots of information if you use an online translator (I just use Google Chrome, and get it to translate for me).
The Dome has 463 steps and the Bell Tower have 414 steps to climb to reach the top, although the Bell Tower has more levels of views. You can see a portion of the road around the square was cordoned off for the World Cup Bike Race.
Left, the Baptistery. Center (rear), the Dome. Right, the Bell Tower. Look at the people near the buildings to get an idea of how tall they are. Like I said in a previous post, everything in Florence is huge!
A view of the Baptistery from the other side, showing the front of the Cathedral. This link gives more information on the history and floor plan of the cathedral over the centuries… it’s a good article as it discusses the layers of what the church was built over since Roman times (around the 4th century). The façade is marble, and was finished in the 1800’s. More information on the cathedral and dome are on this Wikipedia link here.
Allen was taking a picture of what appears to be crests of family names along the building near the front of the cathedral.
Heading towards the entrance to where you get access to the dome.
The entrance to going to the Dome, and the detail above the door.
Its really hard to relate what you feel like walking around such a huge building. It took such dedication to build it for their faith, you can not help but feel reverent when you go inside. If you get a chance to visit Florence, take the time to use all of your ticket to see as much history of it as possible! There are layers of previous excavations inside the cathedral to view!
Going inside, some of our first views was the alter, and you couldn’t help but have your eyes go to the view of the frescos inside the dome. I couldn’t really get a good picture of the stained glass circular windows inside the dome, they were breathtaking!
Detail of the fresco inside the dome. The dome itself is a double layer, and the climb is between them.
If you are claustrophobic, and not in shape, really think before you do this The one good thing is that there were lots of little ventilation windows as you went up the stairs. I had to take a picture of the sign to not write on the walls, it seemed to be a graffiti magnet.
The next four pictures left to right (top to bottom) Window. View between the two layers of the dome, looking upwards. Corridor showing the brickwork. Window showing the Bell Tower.
Steps, steps, and more steps… Remember, 463 of them! There was one spot that there was one area that you could take a breather in and let people pass, although at the corners where the windows were, there was just enough room to pass a person if you had to, as the steps were narrow, just one person wide.
Below, a picture of the final flight of steps to the top! These were steep, just like going into a cabin of a boat. Allen, Nola and I at the top.
Now what can I say about the view? Nothing that these pictures can’t tell you!
You could see areas of Tuscany which were so appealing that they inspired Allen and Nola to rent a scooter the next day to explore it!
Yes, it is a region I would love to explore more too!