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Santa Maria del Fiore

This stunning cathedral took nearly 150 years to complete, and Brunelleschi's dome is today the most iconic feature of the Florentine skyline.

TravelCurious Tip

If you want to visit the dome, go at the end of the day. That way, you won’t have to squeeze past people coming up when you’re on your way down!

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, found in the Piazza del Duomo, rules the Florence skyline. First designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, it is third largest church in the world, after only St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. Its name means the Virgin of the Flower — an allusion to the lily, the symbol of the city of Florence.


Construction started in 1296 and took nigh on 150 years to finish. Numerous styles come together in this cathedral, indicating how tastes evolved over this period. Altogether, the cathedral complex includes the Baptistery, the octagonal minor basilica that is among the oldest buildings in Florence, and Giotto’s Campanile, the showpiece Gothic bell tower. All the buildings have the same, striking pink, white and green marble façade; together, they are are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Cherry on Top

Santa maria del Fiore’s famous dome, seen on every other Florence postcard, was designed in the 15th century by Brunelleschi. He took the innovative approach of vaulting the dome space without scaffolding, by using a double shell structure. The inner shell is the self-supporting element, while the outer dome serves a wind-resistant covering. Crowning the dome is a lantern, upon which there is a copper sphere and cross that contain holy relics.


You can scale the 463 steps to Brunelleschi’s dome for an unforgettable view of Florence. It also allows you to get a closer look at the frescos on the inner shell of the dome, painted by Giorgia Vasari and Federico Zuccari between 1572 and 1579.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Florence
The Baptistery of St John
Among the city’s oldest buildings (and certainly its most octagonal), the Baptistery is a superb example of Florentine Romanesque style.
Piazza del Duomo
Florence's 'Cathedral Square' is in the historic heart of the city and home to several of its most famous landmarks.
Piazza della Signoria
Overlooked by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, this square is one of the city’s focal points.
Dante's Quarter
Italy’s most celebrated poet and a giant of world literature, the author of the Divine Comedy was a native Florentine.
Church and Museum of Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele is a church in the Italian city of Florence
Jewlers
Unique and unrepeatable creations made entirely by hand according to the Florentine goldsmith's tradition.

Related Tours

Florence in a Day: Private Walking Tour
This 6-hour walking tour is perfect for art enthusiasts and culture vultures, giving you the knowledge and time to explore Florence with a local, professional expert. On your private tour, you will: 

  • Enjoy a full-day walking tour of Florence with a private guide.
  • See the city’s highlights, including the Uffizi Gallery buildings (external), the Piazza della Repubblica, and Ponte Vecchio.
  • Visit the Oltrarno neighbourhood, visited by few travellers but beloved by locals.
  • See the Pitti PalaceBasilica di Santa Croce and the church of Santo Spirito.
  • Your guide will take you for a delicious gelato on us!
  • As a note: your guide will endeavour to take you to the Duomo of Florence. However, it does not offer skip-the-line entrance. If you’re unable to visit on the tour because of the queue, your guide will advise you on the best way to return and see the cathedral! 

On your walking day tour, your guide is there to adapt to whatever you may want to see! Feel free to ask the guide to take you to sites not mentioned, if time and tickets allow, You will have the chance to see the Piazza del Duomo, where you will explore the superb Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry of St John. You will venture inside the unique Duomo- famous for Brunelleschi’s Dome, which took 140 years to complete. Look out for the octagonal Baptistry, built over 70 years and named after the Saint Protector of Florence- San Giovanni. 

You will also visit the antique Florentine Quarter where the talented Dante Alighieri used to live. You will pay a visit to Piazza della Signoria, where you may find yourself captivated by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi. Originally the seat of power for the ruling elite of the Republic of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio is now the town hall and a symbol of the Tuscan capital. Built in the 14th century, the charming Loggia dei Lanzi is a masterpiece of Florentine Renaissance architecture and now hosts remarkable Renaissance sculptures.

A short walk on and you will also pass the celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to some wonderful creations by the Italian Renaissance greats of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and many others. The world-famous medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio is well worth a visit with its many quaint craft shops selling small souvenirs, lovely jewellery and beautiful paintings. 

After crossing the Ponte Vecchio, you will have the opportunity to stroll by the 15th century Palazzo Pitti, which always hosts several museums and rotating exhibitions. Its sublime Boboli Gardens are some of the grandest open-air museums Italy has to offer, boasting wonderful sculptures, picturesque fountains and magical grottos.

Your tour also includes a quick visit to the Church of Santo Spirito. Initially drafted by the immensely talented Brunelleschi; it was finally completed years after his death in the late 15th century. 

Your tour finishes in the Oltrarno neighbourhood, filled with artisans and perfect for spending an afternoon shopping for wonderful artwork and treasures to bring back from Florence. Your guide will happily give you recommendations on how to spend the rest of your day, including where to grab dinner. 
Half-Day Florence Private Tour & Skip-the-Line Tickets to the 'David'
This half-day tour of Florence's Renaissance artwork and architecture is a must for all visitors. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the comfort of a private guide escorting you throughout your tour. 
  • Begin your tour with skip-the-line tickets to the Accademia.
  • See Michelangelo’s David and marvel at its grandeur.
  • Explore other highlights in the museum.
  • Enjoy a walking tour of the city’s highlights, including the Duomo, the buildings of the Uffizi Galleries, and Palazzo Vecchio. 
  • Learn about Italian leatherwork, and discover the best places to shop in the city.
  • Finish your tour with a classic Italian gelato on us. 

Discover the highlights of Florence and follow an expert and entertaining guide to the most significant places through the historical centre and learn about the amazing history of the city from the time it was the capital of the Renaissance to the time it became the capital of early unified Italy. Your tour begins in the prestigious Accademia Gallery, where you will enjoy skip-the-line tickets to the museum, and explore stunning artwork, including Michelangelo's David.

Then see the religious centre of the city: admire the Duomo, whose impressive Dome was designed by Brunelleschi, and the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence. From the religious centre, you will walk to the political centre, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through Piazza Della Signoria, surrounded by its ancient buildings and the Loggia Dei Lanzi. In this open-air museum, we will see original masterpieces by Giambologna and Cellini. From there, you'll cross the famous Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge on the Arno River. Your tour finishes with a delicious gelato (on us!) before your guide leaves you with recommendations for how to spend the remainder of your day.

Please note that the Duomo of Florence does not offer skip-the-line tickets and a long line often forms at the entrance. If the line is too long you will not visit the interior of the Cathedral on tour, and your guide will give you tips on the best time to return to avoid standing in line.   

The Beauty and Craft of Florence - Private Walking Tour inc Tickets
Explore the finest Renaissance architecture and experience authentic Italian leather on this 3-hour craft tour.

  • Commence your tour at the antique Florentine Quarter 
  • Pass by the much-celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to much Renaissance art
  • Cross over the Ponte Vecchio, towards Palazzo Pitti
  • Enjoy a short stop at the Church of Santo Spirito
  • Visit the incredible Leather School of Florence 
  • Conclude at Mannina, a family-owned Florentine cobbler 
Antique Florentine Quarter
What better place to start than the antique Florentine Quarter where the talented Dante Alighieri used to live? You will pay a visit to Piazza Della Signoria, where you can not help but be captivated by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia Dei Lanzi. Originally the seat of power for the ruling elite of the Republic of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio is now the town hall and a symbol of the Tuscan capital. Built back in the 14th century, the charming Loggia dei Lanzi is a masterpiece of Florentine Renaissance architecture and now hosts remarkable Renaissance sculptures.

A short walk on and you will also pass the celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to some wonderful creations by the Italian Renaissance greats of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many others. The world-famous medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio is well worth a visit with its many quaint craft shops selling small souvenirs, lovely jewellery, and beautiful paintings. 

Renaissance Florence 

Your tour also includes a quick visit to the Church of Santo Spirito. Initially drafted by the immensely talented Brunelleschi; it was finally completed years after his death in the late 15th century. You will complete your journey with a short stroll around the Quarter of Santa Croce, taking its name from the scenic church of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world.

Authentic Italian Craft

Visit the Leather School of Florence which was created after World War II by Franciscan friars of the Monastery of Santa Croce with the mission of teaching orphans of the war a practical trade with which to earn a living. You will also have the opportunity to visit Mannina, a family-owned Florentine cobbler that are still using traditional shoemaking techniques. 
The Best of Florence Private Walking Tour
This half-day tour walking tour of Florence is the perfect tour for anyone arriving in Florence for the first time. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the comfort of a private guide escorting you throughout your tour. 
  • Enjoy a walking tour of the city’s highlights, including the Duomo, the buildings of the Uffizi Galleries, and Palazzo Vecchio. 
  • Watch the slow-moving silvery Arno River from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • Learn about Italian leatherwork, and discover the best places to shop in the city.
  • Finish your tour with a classic Italian gelato on us. 
  • Note: we recommend booking an evening tour to best see the city come alive with lights and locals. 

Discover the highlights of Florence and follow an expert and entertaining guide to the most significant places through the historical centre and learn about the amazing history of the city from the time it was the capital of the Renaissance to the time it became the capital of early unified Italy. 

First, you will see the religious centre of the city: admire the Duomo, whose impressive Dome was designed by Brunelleschi, and the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence. 

From the religious centre, you will walk to the political centre, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through Piazza Della Signoria, surrounded by its ancient buildings and the Loggia Dei Lanzi. In this open-air museum, we will see original masterpieces by Giambologna and Cellini. From there, you'll cross the famous Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge on the Arno River. Your tour finishes with a delicious gelato (on us!) before your guide leaves you with recommendations for how to spend the remainder of your day.  

We recommend booking an evening tour, where you can see the soft, golden sunset of the Tuscan hills and the changing colours of the sky which add an otherworldly beauty to the city. 

Please note that the Duomo of Florence does not offer skip-the-line tickets and a long line often forms at the entrance. If the line is too long you will not visit the interior of the Cathedral on tour, and your guide will give you tips on the best time to return to avoid standing in line. 

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