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How to Visit the Duomo Complex in Florence

Updated: Aug 17


A visit with a certified Hisìtorical Tour Guide to the Duomo Complex starts at the OPA - Opera del Duomo. This museum is one of the most incredible museums in Florence.


The Museum of Santa Maria del Fiore includes 28 rooms on three floors. That Showcases original masterpieces that cover seven centuries of artists, architects, sculptors, and artists that worked on the monumental complex of the Opera del Duomo.


Masters Include Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi,Ghiberti & Andrea Pisano. Most of the sculptures made specifically for the Cathedral include the Lunettes by Luca Della Robbia and a large Pieta by Michelangelo (1533) located inside the OPA


The Archive collections houses records founded from the 13th century about the construction of the new cathedral. The archives include a set of provisions serving the old cathedral of Santa Reparata that include a list of celebrations to be held inside and outside the church.


There is a contract from 1463 that confirms the commission to add 9 statues from the Old Testament along the outside nave. One of those marble blocks included the David that was commissioned to the Great Michelangiolo in 1501. Can you imagine seeing Michelangiolo's statue of David on top of the Cathedral?


There is a parchment register with the name and dates of those buried in the graveyard around the cathedral up to 1320.


One of the earliest documents in the archive is a book from the 14th century by the Duomo Complex manager Filippo Marsili.


Up to 4.000 books include several printed from the 16th to the early 20th century. The photographic library with over 30,000 images. A reading room with the Archive's digital resources. That includes analytical and structured indices from 1417 - 1436. San Giovanni's christening records 1450- 1900. Tools for consulting digital choral codices and illuminated decoration


As you exit the Opera del Duomo a view of the apse of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is in full site. The Cathedral was designed by the great Medieval Sienese Architect Arnolfo di Cambio.


Construction began in 1296 on the site of the 7th Century Church Santa Reparata. The Cathedral is 152m long and 90m wide. The crypt where Filippo Brunelleschi is buried located inside the Cathedral is where the remains of the original Church St Reparata can be seen.


Arnolfo di Cambio's original project changed over the 124 years of its completion. The original facade was removed in 1587. Its statues including 'Madonna with the glass eyes' along with a life-size facade by Arnolfo di Cambio can be found inside the OPA.


Work on the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore began in 1296. The 152m Cathedral was built around the former Cathedral called Santa Reparata. The oldest part of Santa Maria del Fiore is the Nave. The idea was to start with the Nave so the Church could function right away. Although the Cathedral of Florence was not consecrated until Easter Sunday in 1436. The Cathedral was the largest in the world for 179 years before St Peters Basilica in Rome was completed in 1615.


Above the Nave stood an opening of 143.6 ft in diameter. Work on the dome began in 1420 and finished in 1436. The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral did not have a closed ceiling for 140 years.


In 1418 Together with the commission of the Opera del Duomo and Cosimo dei Medici who was undeniably the father of Renaissance Architecture. A contest to find the builder/architect was announced. With a payment of 200 Florins the equivalent of a four years salary to a builder at the time.


The Dome on the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore remains the largest brick dome ever constructed that took sixteen years to complete. The construction marks the peak of early Renaissance art. A turning point in Architecture and design. Where the great Filippo Brunelleschi used new techniques to reduce the weight of a massive structure.

A Visit continues from the Cathedral (outside only) to view the magnificent mosaics at the Baptistery of Saint John the Baptist.


The hexagonal structure dedicated to the Patron Saint of Florence Saint John the Baptist is famous for its incredible doors. The three doors of this 8-sided structure include the southern door designed by Andrea Pisano in 1330. The Northern door was designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and other collaborators including Filippo Brunelleschi & Jacopo Della Quercia. Restoration of the doors started in 1978 at the OPD Opificio Delle Pietre Dure.

The Easterns Doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo dubbed the doors 'the gates to Paradise. The three original doors of the Baptistery are inside the OPA.



Average time recommendations to visit the Duomo Complex. A Private guided tour for 3 hours will cover the Baptistery, Explanation of the Cathedral (outside only), and the OPA - Duomo Museum.

Private Tour 3 hours will include Ghiberti Pass and expert guide. Price per person for 2 persons 190€, 3 persons 135€, 4 persons 110€


How to climb the Brunelleschi's Dome & Bell Tower You can climb the Dome with the Brunelleschi Pass price is 30€ per person and gives you three-day access to visit Cupola, Bell Tower, Baptistery, Museum & Crypt inside the Cathedral


Brunelleschi’s Dome • Entry from Porta Della Mandorla. There are463 steps. No lifts (elevators) are available. • The start time of the visit to the Dome is the one selected at the time of purchase and shown on the ticket • It's recommended a visit of 45-60 minutes approx. for the Dome.

Giotto’s Bell Tower


The Great painter and architect of the late middle ages Giotto designed the Bell Tower in 1334. Three years later when Giotto died Andrea Pisano continued the building structure. Andrea Pisano designed the two bronze doors of the Baptistery. The original doors are located inside the OPA del Duomo Museum. After the plague of 1348 work on the Bell Tower was completed by Francesco Talenti in 1357. Francesco Talenti began his career as a stonemason in the workshop of Andrea Pisano and L'Orcagna. Later works included the Cathedral of Orvieto. In 1351 Talenti became the Master Builder and designer of the Santa Maria del Fiore. You can buy the Giotto Pass to climb the Bell Tower. There are 414 steps and there is no lift. • The recommended duration for the visit is approximately 45 minutes


















The bell tower was designed by the great artist Giotto in 1334. When Giotto died in 1337 Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti completed the project

























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