If Florence is the cradle of Renaissance, Florence Duomo is the cradle of the cradle! Defining the Florentine landscape, Florence Duomo is the mother of the must – see of the Tuscan city.
Florence Duomo: the true centre of Florence
Il Duomo i.e. the Florence Cathedral – Florence is an archdiocese since May 10, 1419 – and its square area is archaeologically, historically and socially speaking the center of the city: not only in Middle Ages Renaissance and on until nowadays, but since long before.
That area, between the hills and the Arno river banks, was inhabited since Etruscan age and the birth of what will become Florence dates to 59BC and Julius Caesar.
Florence Duomo: when history comes in layers…
The Florence Cathedral is named Santa Maria del Fiore: Saint Mary of the Flower, where the flower itself is the Florentine lily, the Iris. but in the very same place Florence had earlier its first cathedral, Santa Reparata. Dating to the V Century, Santa Reparata was dismantled to make room for the “new” church: the Santa Maria del Fiore works started on September 9, 1296.
Santa Maria del Fiore quite literally absorbed Santa Reparata, which is for us a good thing: we can visit Santa Reparata as it is now the crypt of the Duomo!
But if you can quite literally descend into history of Florence visiting the crypt, you will have to… go up for the most impressive features of the Duomo!
Florence Duomo: Campanile & Cupola…
If Santa Maria Novella is so impressive its Cupola – the Dome – is one of the main reasons.
Cupola del Brunelleschi: the biggest Renaissance achievement
We’ll get back to the Cupola in another post, as it is a masterpiece per se well worth of having its stories told. The visit of the Cupola is – even in terms of ticket and booking – by itself. Built between 1420 and 1436, it is the jewel of the architecture of the Cathedral and the Brunelleschi masterpiece. The view from the top is unique. But you have to brave 436 steps…
Campanile di Giotto: a different point of view
The other main feature of Piazza del Duomo, and of the Florence Cathedral, is the Giotto’s Bell Tower. Again, the story of this monument – it’s architecturally independent from the Cathedral, so a monument by itself – well worths not just a mention, but a whole series of posts. In this introductory one we just stay practical: Campanile di Giotto is – of course! – part of the Cathedral’s monuments complex, but its own access and queue. And, again, mind the steps! 414 in the steps, to get to the unusual perspective of the Cathedral as the crow flies.
Florence Duomo with It’s Florence!
With It’s Florence you’ll learn everything about the Duomo and all the treasures it enshrines: from the dungeonesque walk in the crypt to the heights of the Cupola and Campanile!