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3 Reasons to Visit the Piazza del Duomo Florence

Are you visiting Florence?  One of the top things to do is the climb Florence’s Duomo for magnificent views over this beautiful city. Climbing the Duomo will make you breathless from the exertion and also from the views once you reach the top.  It is well worth it.

Florence stuns everyone who visits. The architecture, the history, the markets and of course, the great food. We have the perfect 2 days in Florence itinerary for you with more sites and experiences to enjoy.

(Editor Update 2021)

Florence’s historical centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. You can understand why when you wander around it. It can be busy at the height of the summer season so we would recommend visiting during Spring or Autumn.

Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region. The historic centre is enclosed in medieval walls that were constructed during the 14th century.

Read More: A Day Out in San Gimignano

You can visit San Gimignano on a day trip from Florence.

There are 3 reasons to visit the Piazza del Duomo in Florence.  

The Duomo has been the religious centre of Florence for over 1600 years.

It houses the magnificent structures of the

  1. Baptistery of San Giovanni,
  2. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore  (the Duomo)
  3. Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Book a small guided tour here




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Where is Florence

Florence is located in the middle of Italy and is the capital of the Tuscany region.

Travel distances from:

  • Rome to Florence –  274 km
  • Milan to Florence –  305 km
  • Venice to Florence – 258 km
  • Bologna to Florence – 106 km
  • Naples to Florence – 473 km

1.  The Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo

The Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo
The Baptistery

The Baptistery is the oldest building in the square and was constructed in the mid 11th century. Between the 14th and 16th Century, the Gates of Paradise were constructed by Lorenzo Ghiberti from a commission by the Baptistery, who wanted the panels depicting the stories of the Old Testament.

Gates of Paradise in the Piazza del Duomo
Gates of Paradise
Close Up of One of the Panels on the Gates of Paradise in the Piazza del Duomo
Close Up of One of the Panels on the Gates of Paradise

These doors are copies of the original doors that were commissioned.  The panel shown above depicts the Old Testament story of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

The Ceiling Inside the Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo
The Ceiling Inside the Baptistery

The ceiling made up of 13th-century mosaics shows the giant figure of Christ. Other panels show mosaic decorations of stories that relate to St John the Baptist, Christ, the Patriarch Joseph and the beginnings of human life – Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and Noah and his family.

2.  The Cathedral  Duomo Florence

The Entrance to the Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo
The Entrance to the Cathedral


The Cathedral was constructed during the last decades of the 13th century.  Florence wanted its Duomo to be larger than the cathedrals of Pisa and Siena.   The exterior was to be constructed in marble with carved figures and statues.  The first stone was laid in 1296 and it took over 170 years to complete.

The Ceiling Inside of The Cathedral at the Piazza del Duomo
The Ceiling Inside of The Cathedral

Unlike the mosaics of the Baptistery’s ceiling, the Duomo ceiling shows painted frescoes depicting scenes from The Last Judgement.

There are 463 steps to the top of the Cupola.  There is an entry fee for this, but no charge for entrance to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is the fourth largest in the world.  St Peters Cathedral in Rome is the largest, followed by St Paul’s in London and the Duomo in Milan.

3.  Giotto’s Bell Tower in the Piazza del Duomo

Giotto's Bell Tower from the Roof of the Duomo
Giotto’s Bell Tower from the Roof of the Duomo

The Bell Tower’s construction was started in 1334 by Giotto.   During its construction, Giotto passed away and the Tower was finished in 1359 by Francesco Talenti.

You can climb the Duomo, there are 414 steps to reach the top of the 84.7 metres tall Tower.

Climb the Bell Tower at 87 meters. Explore the Baptistry and the Duomo Museum with an expert guide. Book here

FAQs on Visiting the Piazza Del Duomo

When is the best time to visit the Piazza del Duomo?

Plan your climb to the Cupola first as tourists start queuing from 8 am.  During summer it is highly recommended to climb both the Cupola and the Tower first thing in the morning.

When is high season for visiting Florence?

The busiest months are from May to October.

How long will it take to visit the Piazza del Duomo?

We would recommend allowing one day to visit the Piazza del Duomo.  Florence has a lot more to see and do and with some great day trips available, we would recommend adding another 3 – 4 days to your itinerary.

What are the Duomo opening hours in Florence?

When visiting the Duomo we recommend starting early in the day.

The Cathedral is open from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm.

For the Dome and the Bell Tower times vary from 8.15 am and 7.00 pm depending on the month. They are open from Monday to Saturday.

Visiting hours are limited on Sundays.

What is a Duomo?

Duomo is the Italian word for cathedral.

Does Florence have a city card with discounts to Museums and its top tourist attractions?

From the website of the Firenze Card:

How Firenzecard works

  1. Buy Firenzecard online or at authorized outlets in the city
  2. If you shop online, you can choose to download the Firenzecard app to your device, enter your voucher code and obtain the digital Firenzecard or print the voucher received by email, deliver it to the staff at the collection points on your arrival in Florence and collect your Firenzecard physics.
  3. It is activated the first time you enter a museum in the circuit
  4. When purchasing, add Firenzecard + to take advantage of city public transport and dedicated commercial offers.
  5. You can visit each of the participating museums and sites only once.

“You can also buy the Firenze Card at the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello, Santa Maria Novella museum, Brancacci Chapel, Bardini Museum and Palazzo Strozzi as well as at the tourist info points located at Piazza SMN and Via Cavour.”

For the latest prices click here.

Hotels in Florence Italy near the Duomo

Hotel Spadai at Via dei Martelli 10 is a 4-star hotel located 0.3 km away from the Duomo and offers guests free Wifi, a bar, lounge, evening happy hour and a good breakfast.


Hotel Renaissance located at Via della Condotta 4 offers guests free breakfast and wifi on the first floor of a historical building 2 minutes away from the Cathedral.


Hotel Duomo Firenze located at Piazza del Duomo 1 is 0.2 km from the Duomo and 15 minutes from the train station, and rooms have a private balcony.


Hotel Maxim Axial located at Via dei Calzaivoli 11 is 0.3 km from the Cathedral.  It is newly opened and offers free WiFi and free breakfast.



For more Florence Hotels:

Getting In – Florence

Florence Airport (FLR) is 4 km from the city centre.

Cheap Flight Deals to Florence

Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner who then directs you to the airline’s website with no extra fees to pay.

You can visit Florence from Rome on a full day high-speed rail journey – full details here.

You can visit Florence from Venice on a full day high-speed rail journey – full details here.

Airport transfers with Get Your Guide:

“Don’t miss the chance to discover some more of beautiful Tuscany during your airport transfer to (or from) Florence, Milan or Rome. Simply arrange a transfer tour and select the stop of your choice along the way, combining comfort with sightseeing.” full details here

Eurail Passes

Eurail Passes are a great way to travel around Europe by rail. Click here for more details.

Car Rental for Italy

We use AutoEurope for our car rental throughout Europe.

Travel Insurance

We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.

If you are located in Australia or New Zealand click here for the latest quotes.

If you are located in the rest of the world click below for the latest quotes.


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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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