Il Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church (or Duomo) of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence, noted for its distinctive dome.
Its name ("Saint Mary of the Flower") refers to the lily, symbol of Florence, or to the old town name Fiorenza.
The cathedral complex includes the church proper, the Battistero di San Giovanni (Florence), built in Florence after Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.
This Catherdal is beautiful. Commonly known as Duomo, this amazing basilica is open to the public and tourists.
Every time I've been to Florence (three times up to now!), I've spent time at the Duomo. I've even just sat at a cafe looking in awe at the building and the facade. It's just stunning.
I am yet to come across a photograph that does the Duomo justice!
There is usually a queue to get inside, and like all churches, you must cover your knees and shoulders - women; no low-cut tops.
And just a little information I picked up; the dome is the largest brick dome ever constructed.
The Duomo, is an absolutely stunning building, at least on the outside. They seem to have spent all of the money on the exterior and the interior is somewhat disappointing,
On the other hand, climbing up to the dome and getting a view of the city was an absolutely stunning experience!
Basilica di Santa Trinita is the mother church of the Vallumbrosan Order of monks, founded in 1092 by a Florentine nobleman. The church is famous for its Sassetti Chapel containing frescoes from Domenico Ghirlandaio who is one of the most estimated frescoe painters of all times. His frescoes are ranked as the masterworks among 15th century paintings.
The basilica was constructed in 1258-1280 but multiple reconstructions occured later on. The 17th century wooden doors were carved to recall saints of the Vallumbrosan order.
The Santa Trinita Maesta by Cimabue was once at the high altar of the church, now exibited at the Uffizi Gallery.
It's like going to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, it's like going to New York and not see the Statue of Liberty or going to Athens and not see the Acropolis. Everyone who has been to Florence (Firenze) will say you gotta see the Duomo! It is spectacular! But, on our trip to Italy, we saw many spectacular churches and cathedrals. The preservation of history and hosting many visitors from around the world is a feat in itself. The church is HUMONGOUS! There is absolutely no way to get a photo of the entire building. The phenomenon on the construction of the Duomo is hard to imagine. If you really think about it, there are no supports in the center and just the sheer curvature of the enormous dome structure keeps itself up and for hundreds and hundreds of years!
I will suggest the climb to the top. It's not easy but if you think you can do it, you should. The views are amazing from up top. There is a separate entrance to the side to make the climb.
Please see my travelogue for more pics!
As I have said many times and repeat here the structures made to "house" and "present gods" are made to be impressive, and the Duomo here in Florence is no different.
From the imposing front entrance seen in the first photo, through the second and third photos showing the sheer size of the structure with its various portals. The fourth photo shows some of the scaffolding that was covering various parts of this emmense building when we visited.
The last photo shows the detached tower that runs as high as the cupola itself. Here in the Duomo, you have to pay for the priviledge to climb the cupola and then pay AGAIN to climb the tower.
From the stairs to the gallery you will find some nice views (photos 1+2) out over the rooftops of Florence, this in itself would be sufficient to climb those 400+stairs.
The third photo shows the open plaza adjoining the Duomo and where the tower is found.
The fourth photo shows one of the beautifuly carved wooden doors leading into the main area of the Duomo. This one was special for me since it was inscribed in Hebrew (the language in Israel where I live), the original language of the ancient religious texts.
The last photo shows the entranc door and arch, impressive as most buildings belonging to a group of structures whose purpose is to "impress" upon one the importance of the religion it serves. This particular Duomo (cathedral) is actually less ornate than many we have seen in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and other Europen countries.
While up in the gallery, don't forget to look DOWN, not only up at the Cupola. Looking down and seeing all the small ant like activity below makes you realize just how high you are.
Things to see on the way UP to the gallery are views over the city and this pantheon of saints in a closed off gallery about half way up.
Of course the main floor does not lack for artistic details and things to see, like this clock and floor detail.
If you want to learn what Heaven and Hell will be like, then visit the Duomo here in Florence. You will also get a chance to see some views of the rooftops of Florence, I will put some photos later.
Only two words of caution about climbing to the topmost gallery to view this, first is that there are over 400 stairs, the way is narrow and not well ventilated, second is that the viewwing gallery itself is very narrow and if you are slightly overweight it may cause problems. Also the plastic protective barrier around the gallery is about 3 meters high and very scratched and faded making it difficult to photograph the cupola.
The Duomo is the number one must see in Florence.
The building of the Cathedral began in 1296 and took nearly 150 years to complete.
It is a pretty fabulous sight, with its stunning white, green and pink marble facade.
Its huge interior is very sparsely decorated which is quite a contract to the outside.
It is free to visit the Cathedral, with a charge to visit the underground crypt (around 3 euros)
Also as part of your visit you can climb to the top of the Dome (for around 6 euros) , for amazing views across Florence.
When you are inside the fabulous Florence Cathedral, wander down to the far end and look up!
The inside of the huge Dome is covered with frescoes depicting what appears to be Heaven and Hell.
It is pretty spectacular......though some of the images are a bit gross!
If you decide to climb to the outside-top of the Dome, half way through the climb you will pop out and find yourself up near the top of the inner Dome, where you can get a much better look at the frescoes.
An amazing site to behold. The dome took hundereds of years to build and used construction methods never tested, but allowed the structure to support itself as it was built.
I woudl stongly suggest reading the book Brunelleschi' Dome, a book that deatils the construction of the dome and offers and interesting insight to the culture of the time. A pretty easy read.
My first view of the Duomo was of part of its iconic dome from the room of my hotel room.
From street level, my first view was on arriving from Via de' Cerretani, so it was of the 19th Century neo-gothic facade. As it was quite dark and raining, I didn't get such a good view.
My previous few Christmas Eves' I'd attended midnight Mass in the Basilica San Marco in Venice. I'd decided that I'd attend that nights service. Apparently the doors open around 21.30
I arrived at around 23.30, and found a standing position near the presepe (the Nativity crib), which had been cordoned off. Although I'm not religious, I do quite enjoy the ceremony, especially as midnight approaches.
to be continued.......
Santa Maria del Fiore, the main cathedral of Florence, probably is the city's most easily recognizable structure. The big orange dome of the duomo can be seen from quite a few streets away, and as you get closer, you begin to recognize the distinctive white, green and pink marble design on the facade. From the outside, it has to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world - at least, it's the most beautiful one I've ever seen! Construction of the duomo began in 1296 and lasted until 1436. The duomo is huge, measuring 153 m in length and reaching a height of 90 m under the dome; it's estimated that 20,000 people can easily fit inside. In contrast to its exterior design, the interior of the duomo is surprisingly sober, but still very impressive. My favourite features were the mosaics covering the entire floor of the cathedral, as well as the fresco painted inside the dome, which two painters, Vasari and Zuccari, took 10 years to complete.
Access to the cathedral itself is free, which is great, but for everything else - baptistery, campanile, dome, museum, archeological site - you need to pay, for a grand total of 27 Euros (yikes!) per person. Have I mentioned that Florence is expensive?!
The first time I went to Florence i climbed the Bell Tower. There were various rest stops along the way, but there is still a sign that says do not climb if you have a heart problem!
On my second trip I climbed the Duomo, and have to say this was by far the more interesting climb and view at the top. Narrow steps, waiting for others to descend, walking around the insided of the dome, and then the final ascent on a curved stairwell all make it worthwhile.
At the top the views are spectacular, and walking around people and staying away from just a railing are all a priority. You can see an art student carving a column or just gaze at the marvel that is Florence.
Make this a priority when you visit!