If you're in Florence, you won't be able to miss Piazza del Duomo. Located in the heart of the city, this square is home to a number of famous landmarks, including the Florence Cathedral. Here's a quick look at the monuments you can visit at this square!
Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)
The facade of this cathedral is very colourful - a mix of white, pink, and green marble. You can enter the cathedral without a ticket, but to be honest, I don't remember being really blown away by the inside of it. You should be able to get a look at the frescoes on the interior of the dome from the ground floor of the cathedral. Although, when I was at the dome, I did see that the area under the dome was cordoned off, so there is a risk of not being able to see it.
Brunelleschi's Dome (Cupola di Brunelleschi)
Brunelleschi's Dome was the star of Piazza del Duomo for me. You'll need a ticket to climb up the dome, and you should definitely buy this in advance since on the day I climbed it, tickets sold out... and I went during low season! You'll also have to climb up 463 steps, some of which are between the two layers of the dome and are very narrow and tight. But I really think it is worth it. You'll get to see the colourful frescoes on the interior of the dome up close, as well as get a spectacular view of Florence with all its terracotta rooftops!
The story behind the dome is quite interesting too. For many years, there was a huge, gaping hole left on the roof of the cathedral, since they had no idea how to create a dome that big without the support of scaffolding. That was until an architect called Brunelleschi figured out how to construct the free-standing dome that we see today. Click here if you want to read more about it!
Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto)
If you haven't had enough of a leg workout after climbing the dome, you can climb Giotto's Bell Tower as well (ticket is required to climb up). Slightly shorter than the dome climb, you can reach the top of the bell tower after climbing 414 steps. On your way up, you'll see some bells, and you will get a great close-up view of Brunelleschi's Dome. The bell tower is way less crowded and narrow than the dome, but if you only wanted to climb up one of the two, I would suggest just climbing up the dome. I personally felt like that was more worth it, as you got to enjoy both frescoes and a great view.
Crypt of Santa Reparata (Cripta di Santa Reparata)
Just before you leave the cathedral, you'll find the stairs leading down to the crypt and ruins of Santa Reparata. Santa Reparata was the previous cathedral of Florence, and the current day cathedral was built over it. Here, you can see some of the mosaics from the flooring of the Santa Reparata, as well as tombs of past bishops. Also found at the crypt is the tomb of Brunelleschi, the architect of Brunelleschi's dome.
Museo dell'Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and Santa Reparata
At this museum, you'll find a collection of sculptures that adorned the cathedral and bell tower, as well as the original Gates of Paradise, that used to stand outside the Baptistery. There are also displays about the construction of the dome. Also displayed here is Michaelangelo's sculpture, The Deposition.
Baptistery of San Giovanni (Battistero di San Giovanni)
The Baptistery of San Giovanni is the octagonal building, right in front of the cathedral. There are 3 stunningly decorated doors on this building that you can view from the outside. Unfortunately I missed getting into the baptistery. When I was there, it was closed. It seemed to close down for a couple hours during the day since the building is still used for religious services, so check for a sign outside of its doors for their up-to-date hours. From photos it looks amazing though with a stunning mosaic dome!
Before we got to Florence we had purchased the cumulative ticket here (it was 15 Euros in November 2016), which gave us access to all the sites at the Piazza for 48 hours. At the time of booking, we had to select the dates and times we wanted to climb the dome, bell tower, and museum. If you don't want to purchase the ticket, you can still enter the cathedral for free, and admire the beautiful exteriors of the cathedral, bell tower, and baptistery. Plus, the square attracts so many tourists, it is not a bad place to people watch, like this cute red bulldog that I spotted at the square was doing!
This post is linked up on Our World Tuesday