Florence is known all over the world for its architectural and artistic treasures, and the Duomo is definitely one of them. Here you will find everything you need to know about it: what to see at the Florence Duomo, practical info and – most importantly – how to get your tickets and skip the line! ***UPDATED 2023
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If you’re visiting Florence, you’re definitely going to walk by the impressive Duomo – also known as Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. You will be left speechless by its exterior, decorated with polychrome marble tablets – just imagine how incredible it will be from the inside!
Even if you’re not a big fan of churches, you should absolutely give this extraordinary building a chance. The Florence Duomo is not “just a church”, it’s a real masterpiece, one of the main sights of the UNESCO-listed historic centre.
That should be reason enough to understand why you shouldn’t skip it – that is why we put together this guide with ALL the information on how to get your ticket in advance, in order to skip the line and visit the Duomo, climb Brunelleschi’s Dome to see the best views over the city!
Don’t have time to read through? Click below to get your Florence Duomo tickets!
- Florence Cathedral Dome Guided Tour
- Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore Tickets with Dome Climb
- Florence: Duomo Complex Monuments Ticket & Dome Reservation
- Best of Florence Walking Tour With David & The Duomo
Florence Duomo Tickets – How to Skip the Line
Together with the Uffizi and the Accademia Gallery, the Duomo is one of the most visited attractions in Florence. This is a proof of its beauty, but it also means it will be very likely to find long queues at the entrance – especially for Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower.
Before explaining how to book your Florence Duomo ticket and skip the line, let me just break down the different kinds of tickets you can get.
Good news first – entering the Duomo of Florence alone, meaning the actual church, is actually FREE of charge.
However, all the other parts of the complex (including the crypt, museums, Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s bell tower) are accessible through a cumulative ticket which costs €18.
Children aged between 6 and 11 only pay €3, while some categories of people can enter for free – 0 to 6-years-old kids, teachers and tour leaders, police workers, Italian journalists, disabled people and their chaperones (if their presence is necessary) and official tour guides.
Having said that, how can you visit the Florence Duomo and skip the line?
Book Florence Duomo Tickets Online
Booking your ticket online is the easiest and cheapest way to get immediate access to the Duomo as soon as you show up at the door.
As we said, there’s only one ticket option and, when you buy it online, you will be asked to pick the day of your visit – the ticket will be valid for 30 days from that one on.
You only need to reserve a specific date and time for your climb the dome tickets – in that case you have to show up 20 minutes in advance, in order to undergo the security controls.
At the moment of the purchase, a pre-sale fee of €2 will be added to the cost of every ticket.
Join a Guided Tour to the Florence Duomo
Guided tours are always a great idea to go beyond the surface and gain more knowledge about the places you visit – including the Florence Duomo, and to skip the line for Brunelleschi’s Dome!
Your guide will take care of the tickets, meaning you won’t have to queue at the door, and at the same time you will learn a lot about the incredible works of art you’re seeing.
Joining a group tour is a good opportunity if you’re on a budget: choose the one that best suits your needs and enjoy!
- Florence Cathedral Guided Tour
- Florence: Duomo Cathedral Guided Tour
- Florence: Dome Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
- Florence: Dome Climb, Museum and Baptistry Small-Group Tour
- Florence: Cupola Climb Tour with Duomo Complex Entry Tickets
- Florence In A Day With David, Duomo, Uffizi & Walking Tour
Join a Private Tour to the Florence Duomo
If you are ready to pay a bit more, I suggest going on a private tour – you will be able to customise your experience based on your preferences and pace, spending more time on the artworks that interest you the most. Here are some options!
- VIP Private Tour Florence Cathedral Dome & Monuments
- Florence: Duomo Complex Private Guided Tour
- Florence: Duomo Complex Private Tour without Climbing
Visit the Florence Duomo in the Early Morning
“The early birds gets the worm” – that’s what they say, and it turns out to be true even in this case.
If you decide to visit the Duomo last minute, and you want to make sure not to spend hours in line, then the wisest thing to do is to go there in the early morning – especially in the peak season or at the weekend.
You can start with the sights that open first – the bell tower and baptistery – moving on to the dome (but remember you need to reserve your climb the dome tickets!) and then the cathedral and crypt.
We can assure you that the satisfaction will be worth the early wakeup call!
Are you planning to also visit Rome? Here’s a post on how to get Vatican Museum tickets and skip the line!
What to See at the Duomo of Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the Duomo of Florence, is the fourth largest church in Europe, after Saint Peter in Rome, Saint Paul in London and the Duomo of Milan. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the whole world.
With its 153 meters length, 90 meters width, 90 meters height and the possibility to host 3000 people, it’s undeniably an impressive building!
Its construction started in 1296, but it took 140 years to be finished, with the intervention of several architects. The most iconic parts are surely the dome, built by architect Brunelleschi and Giotto’s bell tower – their contribution turned the Florence Duomo into one of the most famous monuments in Italy.
When you find yourself in front of such incredibly beautiful work, you really understand what humans are capable of. It’s both magnificent and extremely spiritual – the Duomo can’t leave you unmoved.
We highly recommend dedicating at least half a day to visit the complex – let’s have a look at what you will see at the Florence Duomo!
After the construction of the main body of the cathedral, a huge 45-meters-wide hole was left and no one knew how to cover it. There was even a contest to choose the architect who would design the dome, but there wasn’t a real winner.
Filippo Brunelleschi was chosen basically because he did something similar in another building – now we know that was a wise choice!
He designed a dome composed by two connected ogival shells, which were built using highly innovative techniques (and no scaffolding!). On top of them there’s a lantern with conical coverage, designed by Brunelleschi himself but built after his death.
The ceiling of the dome is decorated by a breathtaking frescoes by Vasari and Zuccari, representing the Last Judgement. Together, the architecture and painting are probably the best examples of Renaissance art you can see.
Although it can be very fascinating even seen from the ground floor, the best way to enjoy the dome and its frescoes is to get up its 463 steps.
You’ll be climbing a series of staircases, nice and wide at first, and getting progressively tighter and more narrow as you move up. By the time you get to the top, it will be so tight you won’t be able to stand up straight. Bear that in mind if you wish to climb!
Tips for Climbing the Florence Duomo
No elevator is available, so the climb is not suitable for children, people who suffer from heart or mobility problems and claustrophobia, as well as those who are afraid of heights.
Also, the climb is not recommended for pregnant women, people who suffer from asthma or respiratory problems, and anyone not in great physical conditions.
Animals and bulky bags are also not allowed. Don’t be discouraged by these warnings, though – the view from up there is well worth the effort!
Giotto’s Bell Tower
Giotto’s Bell Tower is almost as high as Brunelleschi’s Dome. In this case, if you want to get to the top you’ll have to climb 414 steps – so it’s still not recommended for same categories of people mentioned above.
Almost 85 meters high and 15 meters wide, this bell tower was built more with a decorative purpose than for functional reasons and it’s a great example of Florentine Gothic architecture.
Giotto designed it and began to build it, but after his death it was Andrea Pisano who carried on with the construction while other artists decorated the tower with carvings and reliefs. The whole work depicts the Redemption of Mankind and represents the concept of Universal Order.
On the second level of the tower you can also see a group of statues by Donatello, illustrating the sacrifice of Isaac. Well, actually you will see copies of it – the original sculptures are located in the Museum for conservational purposes.
The tower bell was finally completed after 25 years by Francesco Talenti, who added lightness to the structure thanks to the windows.
Covered in white, red and green marble with elegant geometrical shapes, Giotto’s tower bell is topped by a terrace – the one you’ll reach after the climb – that overlooks the heart of Florence. Truly unmissable!
The façade of the Florence Duomo remained incomplete for a long time, even though Lorenzo il Magnifico in person promoted a contest to find someone who could finish it.
After quite a few misadventures, the stunning neo-gothic façade we know it today was completed in the 19th century.
Despite several centuries difference, the multicolour marble decorations and the geometric patterns are very similar to those of surrounding buildings – even though the intricate decorations lets you understand that it comes from a different period.
It took a few decades and the work of many artists to complete it, which allows you to witness how the Italian art and style evolved around the end of the 19th Century.
Santa Reparata’s Crypt
The Duomo of Florence is built over the ancient church of Santa Reparata, which was the cathedral of the city in Medieval times. Thanks to archaeological works that took place in the 1960s-1970s, the remains of the old building were brought back to life and constitute now the crypt of Santa Maria del Fiore.
From the right nave of the Duomo you can now access Santa Reparata and admire its mosaic-decorated floor, as well as the graves of some historical personalities such as Brunelleschi.
San Giovanni’s Baptistery
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the oldest religious buildings in Florence, and it’s located right next to the Duomo.
This octagonal-shaped construction is covered in white and green marble from Carrara and Prato and its diameter is half of the dome’s – 25.60 meters, way bigger than the average baptisteries, because it needed to welcome massive crowds during baptism days (which were only two per year).
The inside is richly adorned too, thanks to artists like Jacopo Torriti and, apparently, even Cimabue. The first thing you will notice as you get in is the mosaic that decorates the dome and the apse: its gold background creates a solemn and majestic atmosphere.
The whole San Giovanni’s Baptistery is a treasure to be unveiled little by little – don’t underestimate it only because it sits next to a masterpiece like the Florence Duomo!
The Opera Museum
After visiting the Duomo, with its dome and bell tower, the crypt and the baptistery, don’t be fooled thinking that you’ve seen everything: there’s still the Opera Museum to be enjoyed!
The museum extends over 6,000 square meters, 28 rooms on 3 floors, where you can find all the original pieces that come from the surrounding complex, held in the museum for conservational reasons.
You will get the chance to see statues by Donatello, Michelangelo, Andrea Pisano, Arnolfo di Cambio and many more artists from the Renaissance and Gothic period.
Practical info about Florence Duomo
- Cathedral: from 10am to 4:30pm
- Dome: from 8:30am to 7pm
- Bell Tower: from 8:15am to 7:20pm
- Baptistery: from 8:15am to 10:15am and from 11:15am to 7:30pm
- Crypt: from 10am to 5pm
- Museum: from 9am to 7pm
Time to spare for the visit of the complex: half a day
Dress code: remember that these are first of all worship places, so in the Duomo, Crypt and Baptistery you’re not allowed to enter if your legs or shoulders are exposed, if you’re wearing sandals, hats or sunglasses.
How to get there: the easiest way to get to the Duomo of Florence is walking from the train station or from one of the car parks around there. The dome is so enormous that it won’t be hard for you to see it and reach it.
Now you know everything you need in order to enjoy your trip to the Florence Duomo and other sights within the complex. It’s time to start packing: Florence is waiting for you!
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