Dominating Florence's skyline, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and its impressive dome stands in the centre of Florence as the fourth-largest cathedral in the world. Built at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio, this gothic structure sits on top of the 7th-century Church of Santa Reparata, and the old church remains can still be found within the crypt. Its famous dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and was added in the 15th century. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed and was considered so impressive that a statue of Brunelleschi sits outside the cathedral so he can forever admire his handiwork.
Inside the structure the scale of the building becomes even more impressive, with beautiful stained-glass windows and Giorgio Vasari's fresco of the Last Judgement adorning the interior walls of the dome. Entrance is free and the lines can be long, however they do move quickly. Those choosing to climb the 463 steps to the top of the dome will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views over the city and the opportunity to view Vasari's frescoes up close.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm (excluding January 1st, Epiphany, Easter and December 25th), Sundays and religious holidays 1.30pm - 4.45pm. To climb the dome: Monday to Friday 8:30am – 7pm and Saturday 8:30am – 5.40pm (excluding January 1st, December 25 – 26th and various religious holidays).
Prices: Free to enter the cathedral and €70 per person for an OPA pass to enter all five monuments (including the dome) in Piazza Duomo.
*Prices and opening hours may be subject to change.