Things to do in Florence

Tips to remember while visiting Duomo Florence

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The Duomo Florence is actually a part of a cathedral, officially known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, and is a must-visit for Renaissance enthusiasts. It's famously the third-largest church globally and a true Renaissance marvel, forming part of UNESCO's Historic Centre of Florence.

Its beauty lies in its unique features, notably its the façade, and of course, that massive dome which can be spotted from miles away! If you're planning a trip to Tuscany, visiting the Duomo is essential. Situated at Piazza del Duomo, it's a central attraction in Florence, alongside Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of St. John, and more.

In this guide, we'll cover essential tips for making the most of your visit to the Florence Duomo, ensuring a memorable experience. Let's delve into everything you need to know!

Tips for visiting Duomo Florence

Duomo Florence

1. Book your tickets in advance

This one’s a no-brainer. This saves time and lets you explore the Cathedral without waiting in long lines. With pre-purchased tickets, you can enjoy the art galleries and architectural beauty without rush, giving you more time to admire the masterpieces and details inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

2. Entering Duomo Florence

The main entrance to Duomo Florence is between the Bell Tower and the Cathedral's main door. If you have your tickets, you can join this line and enter. If not, you can buy tickets at nearby ticket offices. These offices are close to different attractions like the Bell Tower, Dome, Baptistery, and Duomo Museum. Remember, each attraction has its entrance at its respective building, but you can book your ticket online in a way that all of it gets included in your ticket.

3. Understanding the parts of the cathedral:

Before visiting, it's helpful to know the different areas of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.

  • The Cathedral: Entry here is free, and you can admire the stunning Brunelleschi Dome's ceiling.
  • Opera del Duomo Museum: This museum houses original artworks from renowned artists like Michelangelo and Donatello. Your standard ticket usually includes entry to both the museum and the Baptistery.
  • The Baptistery of St. John: An octagonal marvel dedicated to the city's patron saint, adorned with intricate marble and gold details.
  • The Brunelleschi Dome: Tickets allow you to climb to the top for close-up views and panoramic sights of Florence, but be ready for a 463-step climb. You can also see it from inside the Cathedral without extra charge.
  • Giotto’s Belltower: Like the Brunelleschi Dome, this offers panoramic views but requires a customized ticket when booking.

4. Experience the Dome Climb

Climbing the dome is a unique and memorable experience. While it may not be suitable for those with vertigo or who are scared of heights, if you're physically fit, it's an opportunity not to be missed. This kind of experience isn't available at many cathedrals, so take advantage of it if you can!

5. Experience Mass at Duomo Florence

Attending mass at Duomo Florence is a profound journey blending history and faith. The Cathedral's Italian Gothic architecture creates a sacred ambiance where time and devotion merge. The traditional rituals during mass add a timeless aspect to your visit, from the readings and hymns to the Eucharistic celebration, enriching the Catholic tradition. Here are the mass timings for your reference:

  • Monday to Saturday: 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 6pm (English Mass on Saturdays at 5pm, venue moved to Misericordia on the first Saturday of each month) Weekends:
  • Sunday: 7:30am, 9am, 10:30am (Gregorian chant), 12pm, 6pm (Vespers with chants at 5:30pm)

6. Do yourself a favour and book a guided tour

When I first visited Duomo Florence, I was amazed by the art and the different areas of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. It made me wish I knew more about the Renaissance era and the significance of things. However, with limited time to research, I opted for a guided tour, and it was a fantastic choice. The guide was knowledgeable, answered all my questions patiently, and made the experience even more fascinating than it already was.

7. Visit the Secret Terraces (exclusive to only a few)

For a special experience, consider visiting the secret terraces of the Duomo. Opt for the exclusive 6:45am early entry VIP guided tour with Dome Access. This ticket not only allows you to explore the secret terraces but also includes a dome climb and a delightful Italian breakfast with coffee and pastries. It was truly one of my best experiences in Florence!

8. Optimal timing for visiting the cathedral

The Florence Duomo opens at 10:15 am. To make the most of your visit, it's best to line up at 9:45 am, 30 minutes before the doors open. Although there may already be a line at that time, it moves swiftly once the doors open and is much shorter than later in the day. Arriving later means longer lines and the discomfort of the sun overhead.

9. Dress code

When visiting the Florence Cathedral, it's essential for women and girls to adhere to the dress code to gain entry. This means no crop tops, short skirts, or sleeveless/shoulder-revealing tops. If you're visiting in summer and don't have appropriate attire, a large scarf to cover up will suffice. You can easily find scarves for sale at nearby stores and stands if needed.

10. Wear comfortable shoes

Whether you're exploring Florence or planning to climb the dome, comfortable shoes are a must. This tip is especially crucial for visiting the Brunelleschi Dome and Giotto's Belltower, where you'll need to climb more than 400 steps to climb. Closed-toe shoes will keep you comfortable and safe during your ascent.

11. Bring some identification

When visiting the Florence Duomo Complex, it's essential to have your documents handy. International visitors should carry their visa and passport details as required.

12. Use public transport

Take advantage of the tram line T2 and get off at Unita station, which is just 500 meters away from the Cathedral. The nearest tram station is Santa Maria Novella, and trams run every 10 minutes from 5:30am to midnight. This convenient and efficient option connects you directly to the city center, requiring only a short walk from Santa Maria Novella, the main station.

13. Opt for combo tickets

For a day packed with exploration in Florence, consider booking combo tickets for great deals. Combine your visit to the Duomo Florence with other experiences like the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, or even include a walking tour of the city for a comprehensive experience!

14. Get a gelato nearby

On a hot day, don't miss out on Gelateria Edoardo near the Duomo. It offers some of the best gelato in Florence—I couldn't resist visiting daily during my stay. Their pistachio, hazelnut, and cinnamon flavors are exceptional, with the perfect amount of sweetness, and a natural taste that sets them apart. The pistachio and sea salt combo is fantastic too!

Tickets to visit Duomo Florence

Duomo Florence Tips