How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Categories: 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Florence, or an old pro, there are always secrets to discover in this ancient city.

Perhaps the most interesting secrets belong to Il Duomo, Florence’s unique cathedral.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

This Catholic cathedral, which took two centuries to complete, was begun in 1296 and finished in 1436. 

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

The masterful octagonal dome was designed by Brunelleschi, and consists of a double shell of herringbone bricks. The diameter of this dome is 45.5 metres! Inside, there’s a gorgeous fresco called The Last Judgement. Designed by Giorgio Vasari and mostly painted by his assistants, Federico Zuccari and Giovanni Balducci, from 1572-1579 (great art takes time), it was restored in the late 1900s.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

Of course, any building this old possesses secrets. Add this particular building’s uncommon history, and its secrets seem to multiply exponentially. If you want to play history detective, or just discover more about Il Duomo, take a small group VIP Florence Duomo Tour with Ciao Florence.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

This art and history tour (our favorite kind), with an art-loving, highly qualified local guide, provides exclusive access to the terraces and circular room (!!!), and also covers the cupola, cathedral, Santa Reparata Crypt (which includes Brunelleschi’s tomb), and more.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

Let’s talk about the terraces

32 metres high, they have been closed to the public for hundreds of years. Now, lucky travelers can climb 153 steps to the northern terrace of the Duomo’s rooftop. Here, you have a unique panoramic perspective–not as high as the cupola, but with an extraordinary view.

What about that circular room?

This tour is the only one offering access to this room, where art restorers are working on 16th century statues that previously graced the façade of the Duomo. 

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

We asked a college student, Josey Parker, about her recent experiences with this tour. 

How crowded is the Duomo and how much of a difference did having a private guide make to the experience? 
Since I toured in the summer, the Duomo was super crowded and the line was wrapping around the building just to get into the church, not to mention that you had to make a reservation ahead of time to climb to the top. With that being said, having the private guide made a tremendous difference, as we were able to skip past the crowds and enter the church immediately.
 
What was your personal highlight of the Duomo Tour?
My favorite part was visiting the secret terraces that are only accessible with this tour. It was truly a VIP experience, and we were able to walk out onto a side terrace that ran along the side of the church and really see the fascinating architecture up close, as well as the beautiful views of Florence! 

What did you think about the job that has been done by the restorers of the Duomo?
The restoration being done was very intriguing, and having this aspect in the tour gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into restoration.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo
Photo: Josey Parker

Your tour ticket will also provide access to other parts of the Duomo (reserved access to the Cupola, Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum, etc.) for 24 hours, if you want to go eat (gelato!) and then come back later.

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

Tips:

* Book your tour in advance
* Wear appropriate clothing and shoes (including covering your shoulders and knees)
* Read up on the art before you go, so you’re in the know 
* Look at a 360 of the interior of the cupola here! 

How To Discover The Secrets of Florence's Duomo

 

 

 

 

Share