Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore as is its full name, is a true renaissance masterpiece mostly known for the magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi, inspired by Roman Pantheon, wanted to make something similar in Florence. During the construction it was used around 4 million bricks and the dome was the biggest one in the world at that time.

About Duomo

Even if you get frustrated with the traffic around the cathedral, the moment you enter it you will forget everything you were thinking before and just breathlessly look at the mosaics, sculptures and carvings witnessing not only the amazingly talent of people who made it but also the power of former Republic of Florence.

Duomo was built in place of an old cathedral called Santa Reparata, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. Construction started by the end of the 13th century and ended 170 years later. After it was done in 1436, it was the biggest cathedral in Europe fitting about 30, 000 of people. Today, the only two bigger are Vatican Basilica of St. Peter and London cathedral of St. Paul.

Famous facade made of white marble with green and pink edges, the way you see it today, was finished by the end of the 19th century. Three bronze doors with scenes from life of Virgin Mary are also from that time. Above the entering doors there are rosetta and niches with statues of 12 apostles and Virgin Mary with Christ. You may be a bit surprised modest interior, however bear in mind it was made according to the lifestyle of the time. Under the Brunelleschi’s dome, there is 3600 sq.meters big fresco of Last Judgement painted by Zuccari and Vasari. It took them 11 years to create it. Entering the cathedral itself is free and the ticket enabling sightseeing of other pieces of Florentine cathedral- the dome, baptistery, belfry, crypt of Saint Reparata and museum gallery costs £7.

Belfry, built by Giotto, is a perfect place to enjoy Florentine panorama. You only need to climb 463 steps to get there.

One of the oldest monuments in Florence is the octagonal baptistry of St.Ivan. It was built between the 11th and 12th century and until the end of the 19th century all Florentines catholics were baptized there. It has three doors showing the biblical themes - South, North and East Gate, which Michelangelo himself called 'Gate of Heaven'. Today, the copies were left here while the original is kept in Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. Interior of the baptistry is much richer, if we compare it to cathedral. Ceiling is decorated with beautiful golden mosaic also showing The Last Judgement, which supposedly had great impact on Dante and Divine Comedy.

The ‘Gate of Heaven’ is consisted of 10 fields showing scenes from extradition of Adam and Eve from Eden and Moses receiving 10 God’s commandments to fall of Jericho city and battle with Philistines.

Florence cathedral is also important historical place, remembering the events of murder of Giuliano de Medici in 1478 and holding the last Council of uniting Eastern and Western churches in 1436.

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Photos of Duomo