Cattedralle di Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cattedralle di Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of Fiore Cathedral) represents a symbol of the wealth and power of the Tuscan capital during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Florentine cathedral is one of the largest buildings in Christendom. The origin of the name is not known exactly. The most accepted theories are that it refers to the lily, symbol of Florence; the old name of the city Fiorenza; or that the flower represents Christ, according to a fifteenth-century document.
Regardless of the origin of the name, it is a magnificent work of the Italian Renaissance, although in its interior it is a little austere, it dazzles the visitors with its size. The highlight of the church is undoubtedly the great dome, "Cupola di Brunelleschi", by Filippo Brunelleschi. The measures that this one possesses are 100 meters of interior height; 114.5 meters of external height; 45.5 meters outside diameter and 41 meters inside diameter. It contains more than 4 million bricks and to reach high altitudes, Brunelleschi had to design lifting machines and cranes to hoist large stones. The most impressive thing about this dome is that it was the first octagonal dome that was built without the support of the wooden frame.
In the thirteenth century, the church of Santa Reparata, was crumbling and Florence, due to the growth of the population, could not build another church of such small size. This reason and the need to surpass their Tuscan rivals (Pisa and Siena), it was decided to build the largest church and the best decorated on the outside. In this way, at the end of construction, it was the largest in Europe with a capacity of 30,000 people. At present it is only surpassed, in size, by St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Seville Cathedral and Milan Cathedral.
Inside the cathedral are works of art such as: Dante and the Divine Comedy by Domenico di Michelino, The equestrian statue of Giovanni Acuto by Paolo Uccello, The equestrian statue of Niccoló da Tolentino by Andrea del Castagno, among other busts.
A great option is to climb the dome of the Cathedral, so you can have a beautiful view of the city of Florence, after 463 steps that take you to the top. Another similar option is to go up to Giotto's Campanile, the experience is similar, only you miss the opportunity to see Brunelleschi's masterpiece, but in contrast, you can appreciate the scenes of the Last Judgment of Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, throughout of 414 steps.
The underground vaults were used to bury the Florentine bishops over the centuries. The archaeological history of this enormous area has been revealed with the appearance of the ruins of Roman houses, a pavement of early Christianity, ruins of the ancient cathedral of Santa Reparata and in turn, the tomb of Brunelleschi, as a sign of affection that they had the Florentines.
The Baptistery of San Giovanni has fabulous bronze doors that are adorned with scenes from the life of the Virgin. However, the ones that remain today are not the original ones, since they are found in the Museum of the Works of the Cathedral (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo), a few meters from the Cathedral. Until the 19th century, all the Catholic citizens of Florence were baptized there. In the dome, it is endowed with an incredible work of art made in mosaic, made by different Venezian artists.
All this set of structures, works of art and buildings, is located in the Historic Center of Florence, declared a World Heritage Site.
*Location: 230 Km north from Rome.
*Schedule: Climb to the dome of the Cathedral 8:30-19:00 (Everyday), 8:30-17:40 (Saturday) and the holidays remain closed.
Cattedralle di Santa Maria del Fiore 10:00-17:00 (Monday-Wednesday and Friday), 10:00-15:30 (Thursday), 10:00-16:45 (Saturday) and 13:30-16:45 (Sunday and holidays).
Climb to Giotto's Campanile 8:15-19:00.
Baptistery 8:15-10:15 y 11:15-19:30 (Monday-Friday), 8:15-18:30 (Saturday) and 8:15-13:30 (Sunday).
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo 9:00-19:00 (Everyday)
*Rates: (all prices are in euros).
Tickets for adults...$18.
Tickets for child (between 6 and 11 years old)...$3.
Tickets for child (under 6 years old)...free.
(The tickets includes Cathedral, Dome, Baptistery, Crypt, Campanile and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo).
*Duration: 2 days.
*Warning: You can not go with shorts, shirts or dresses that leave the shoulder uncovered.
*Advice: Go early to avoid long lines and the crowds.
*Best time: Abril-June to avoid crowds, however, the summer months are also pleasant.
*Website: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.