- Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore
Better known as the Duomo, this focal point of Florence can be seen from any spot in town.
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.
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.
Cathedral: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm
Dome: Monday-Friday 8:30am-7pm
Baptistery: Monday-Friday: 8:15am-10:15am/11:15am -6:30pm
Bell tower: Monday-Friday: 8:15am-6:50pm
Saturday: 8:15 am- 6:50pm
Crypt: Monday-Friday: 10am- 5pm
Museum: Closed until 10/29/2015
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.