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The Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the most important landmarks in Florence, Italy. The construction of Santa Maria del Fiore began in 1296 with an architect named Arnolfo Di Cambio.

It was completed in 1434, so it’s got a long history associated with it. It is also the fourth largest Church in the world and annually documents several visitors. 

History of The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The history of the Cathedral is long and elaborate. I’m not here to give you a history lesson, but I’ll tell you a little bit. After the death of Arnolfo Di Cambio, construction was continued by Giotto and Andrea Pisano.

However, they had to abandon the construction in 1348 because of the Black Death epidemic in Europe. After the epidemic, wealthy merchants and their families lent their money to continue the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Florence Cathedral in the day

The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, which is an allusion of a Lilly and also Florence’s symbol. This is just a piece of the Cathedral’s history. There is a lot more that went on behind the scenes, and it is actually pretty interesting to read.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the historic centre of Florence. It is located in the main square of the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy. There is so much culture and architecture to experience here, and it is truly a great learning experience.

Monuments at The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral is made up of a number of monuments, and each of these is a wonder in itself. 
The dome of the cathedral is octagonal and was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. It is constructed so that its structure is lighting and earthquake-proof and this has been proven over time.

View of Florence Cathedral & Santa Maria del Fiore

The dome’s internal walls were recently restored. They were, however, painted with a fresco in the sixteenth century by Giorgio Vasari and the twentieth century by Federico Zuccari. Climbing up to the top of the Dome requires a reservation, but it’s totally worth it.

Walls inside the Duomo

Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the last judgement can be seen as you climb up to the top. The climb consists of 463 steps and there’s no elevator. However, when you reach the top, the astounding view of Florence makes you forget about the climb.

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the most ancient churches of Florence. Clad with Green Prato marble and white Carrara, it is a beautiful prince of work. The exterior of the Baptistery is characterized by its incredible bronze doors.

The Baptistery at Santa Maria del Fiore

The inside of the Baptistery is filled with intricate mosaics on the dome, as well as art whose essence lies in history and religion.

Giotto’s campanile is the bell tower at The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Florence. It was primarily constructed with white, green and red marble.

Bell Tower

It is 85 metres tall, and the carvings and designs will certainly make one stop and stare. With 414 steps, it is a relatively easy climb. These monuments have also been declared UNESCO world heritage sites.

When talking about some other features of the Cathedral, most of the stained glass windows were actually made in the fifteenth century. They are as ancient as it gets! 

Stained Glass Windows

The windows are adorned with the works of brilliant artists like Donatello, Andrea del Castagno and Paolo Uccello. Sacristy´s cupboards have wooden inlays, which were designed by artists like Antonio del Pollaiolo and Brunelleschi. 

The Museums at The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The museums at The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore are some of the most famous parts of the museum, filled with art, culture and history. 

The Corrido del’ Opera is made of the thousands of names who have contributed to the construction, growth and preservation of this place. The wall is literally covered with the names of the people who’ve played their part in this Cathedral. 
The Tribuna do Michelangelo has Michelangelo’s Pietà. This sculpture is believed to have been built by Michelangelo for his own tomb. This sculpture contains damage done to the left arm and leg of Crist. This, many say was done by Michelangelo to reflect his frustration with himself.

Florence Cathedral during sunset

The Sala Della Maddalena is a room that is named after its most prominent art piece. Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello created the sculpture of the Penitent Saint Mary Magdalene. Its unusual realism was met with bewilderment from many. It is definitely a sculpture that’’ make you look twice.

The Galleria Della Cupola is named after the Cupola, which was a masterpiece made by the artist Brunelleschi. His applications of engineering and mechanics are illustrated in this gallery. It also contains tools that were made in the construction of The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

The Sala delle Cantore is sort of like a compare and contrast situation. It has two choir lofts, which were made by Renaissance artists Donatello and Luca Della Robbia. You can study their work side by side in this gallery.


Even just taking a walk around The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is absolutely wonderful. The statues, mosaic tiles and carvings in various shades are so many it’s amazing.

Getting to The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Let’s talk about how you can actually get to The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The Florence airport is about 13 kilometres from the Cathedral. 

There is a bus route that goes near the Cathedral, and from there, it is a walk or hailing a taxi. If you’re one to drive, you can also rent a car. However, I’d recommend walking, because even the walk to the Cathedral is so scenic and culture-filled.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Florence Cathedral famous for?

The Florence Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Italy. It’s famous for its architecture, art and history.

What is the most famous part of the Florence Cathedral?

The Brunelleschi’s Dome is what several visitors come to see. When it was built, it was also the largest dome in the world.

Is the entrance to the Florence Cathedral free?

Yes, the entrance to the Florence Cathedral is free.

How long does it take to climb up to the Dome in the Florence Cathedral?

The climb up is about 463 steps, and it’ll take you around 45 minutes.

Is the Duomo the same as the Florence Cathedral?

The Duomo is a local term for the Florence cathedral.

Do you need a tour of the Florence Cathedral?

A tour isn’t necessary, but if you want a better understanding of the art, history and architecture of the Florence Cathedral, a tour may be recommended.


The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is an important landmark in Florence, and it is something you must definitely add to your list. You learn so much about the history of the place, and the art at the cathedral will leave you awestruck.

Entrance is free, but you can also book tours if you’d like to experience the place in detail. Either way, it is a sight to see. 

Have you been to The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!

Until then, have a great day, and I’ll see you guys in the next one.

Visiting the Beautiful Florence Cathedral in 2023

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