Three Must See Florentine Cathedrals

  1. Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore

Better known as the Duomo, this focal point of Florence can be seen from any spot in town.

The Duomo was built in 1294.

The Duomo was built in 1294.

Florence’s biggest masterpiece, the Duomo took two centuries to build, mostly because the iconic dome was the largest dome in the world and no one knew how to make it. Filippo Brunelleschi’s design solved the problem and gave the dome the nickname cricket cage.

With its soaring multi-colored marble bell tower, large dome and beautiful 19th century neo-Gothic façade the Duomo is breathtaking, the inside pales in comparison.

Where the real beauty is, is up 463 tiny winding steps to the top of the dome. From the top of the dome Florence is laid before you. Go close to closing and you’ll see the city bathed in light with a beautiful sunset in the background.

The Duomo as seen from Piazza Vecchio.

The Duomo as seen from Piazza Vecchio.

For the best view of the Duomo climb 416 steps to the top of the bell tower. The dome in all its glory will fill up your camera screen.

Hours:

Cathedral: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm

Saturday: 10am-4:45pm

Sunday: 1:30pm-4:45

Dome: Monday-Friday 8:30am-7pm

Saturday: 8:30am-5pm

Sunday: 1pm-4pm

Baptistery: Monday-Friday: 8:15am-10:15am/11:15am -6:30pm

Saturday: 8:15am-6:30pm

Sunday: 8:15am-1:30pm

Bell tower: Monday-Friday: 8:15am-6:50pm

Saturday: 8:15 am- 6:50pm

Sunday: 8:15am-6:50pm

Crypt: Monday-Friday: 10am- 5pm

Saturday: 10am-4:45pm

Sunday: Closed

Museum: Closed until 10/29/2015

Prices:

Cathedral: Free

A 10 euro ticket gets you into all 5 monuments in Piazza Duomo: Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the crypt of Santa Reparata and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

  1. Santa Croce    
santa croce

The facade of Santa Croce.

Not nearly as colorful and busy in its façade as the Duomo, the Santa Croce makes up for it in the inside. Light shining through the stained glass windows create pools of light in reds, yellows and blues.

The main alter in Santa Croce.

The main alter in Santa Croce.

Stained glass windows aren’t the only artwork in Santa Croce. It houses some of the most important art of any church in Florence. The highlights are Donatello’s Crucifix and Annunciation, and Giotto frescoes.

Santa Croce is the burial ground of choice for Renaissance celebrities with the most prominent being Michelangelo.

The tomb of Michelangelo.

The tomb of Michelangelo.

Second most prominent is Galileo Galilei, the guy who claimed, correctly, that the Earth was not the center of the universe. (Fun Fact: It was because of this controversial claim that he was not granted a Christian burial until 100 years after his death.) Others include Niccolò Machiavelli, a political theoretician who influenced the Medici family and composer Gioacchino Rossini.

Hours:

Monday-Saturday: 9:30am-5:30pm

Sunday: 2pm-5:30pm

Prices:

Full price ticket: 6 euros

Reduced price ticket: 4 euros for children 11-17 years old, for school groups and for groups that include a minimum of 15 people.

Free: childen younger than 11 years old

Residents of Florence and province

Disabled travelers and their own assistant

  1. Basilica of San Lorenzo

One of the largest churches of Florence, and some claim one of the oldest, the Basilica of San Lorenzo was built in 393 outside of the city walls.

The alter of San Lorenzo.

The alter of San Lorenzo.

San Lorenzo was the parish church of the Medici family, one of the most influential families in Florence. It is now the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family and their artist friend, Donatello.

The tomb of Donatello.

The tomb of Donatello.

This Renaissance style church houses many beautiful pieces of art like Donatello’s last works, two bronze pulpits, and the work of Brunelleschi and Michelangelo can be seen in the sacristies. The grandest part of San Lorenzo would probably have to be the Medici Chapels with its unusual shape and colored marble everywhere.

Hours:

Weekdays: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 1:30pm-5:30pm

Prices:

4,50 euros

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