Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore & Piazza Duomo
Cathedral in Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Florence Cathedral, is an impressive and vast church, ranking among the largest in the world. The plan comprises a triple-nave basilica with a presbytery area nestled within, dominated by a massive octagonal dome. Surrounding the dome are three radial apses, each consisting of five chapels. The cathedral spans 153 meters in length, 90 meters in width at the transept, and reaches a height of 90 meters from the floor to the base of the dome lantern.
The name “Santa Maria del Fiore” refers to the city’s name, “Florentia,” meaning “city of flowers,” and to its emblem, the Florentine lily.
Construction of the cathedral began on 8th September 1296, with Arnolfo di Cambio as the architect. His initial design was smaller than the current building, which saw expansion under Francesco Talenti in the mid-14th century. The church was consecrated upon the completion of the dome on 25th March 1436, by Pope Eugenio IV.
The external walls are adorned with white, red, and green marble, displaying intricate geometric figures and stylized flowers. The sides boast four elegant mullioned windows, eight circular windows, and four grand portals richly adorned with sculptures.
The facade, a neo-Gothic masterpiece designed by De Fabris in the 19th century, was adorned by renowned Tuscan artists of the time. It replaced a previously decorated wall from the late 1600s, which had been constructed following the demolition of the earlier and unfinished medieval facade initiated by Arnolfo di Cambio.
Top Tip for visiting Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: If waiting in long lines to buy a ticket is not your idea of fun – especially on a hot day – consider the Florence Cathedral: Terraces and Dome Skip-the-Line Tour. This 2.5-hour guided tour includes the cathedral, the dome, the baptistery, entrance fees, and the option to visit the Opera del Duomo Museum on your own.
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Visiting Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore & Piazza Duomo
Generally open from 10.45am – 4.30pm
Sundays and religious holidays: closed
During Holy week –
Holy Thursday: 12:30 – 4:30pm
Good Friday: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Holy Saturday: 11am – 4:45pm