From the first look at its multicolored marble façade and the immense dome towering above, it’s easy to see why the imposing Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most important tourist attractions in Italy. Filippo Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome stands out above the city, dominating the skyline, and has become the symbol of the city itself. At more than 152 meters in length, this is Italy’s third-largest church, but it’s the artistry that earns the Duomo’s distinction as one of Europe’s top landmarks.
The piazza and the adjoining Piazza San Giovanni with the Archbishop’s Palace, are overlooked by several imposing buildings, including the Loggia del Bigallo, the Palazzo della Misericordia, the Palazzo dei Canonici, the Palazzo Guadagni, the Palazzo Niccolini, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, where you’ll find the original masterpieces that have been taken from the duomo complex to protect them from environmental damage.
This is the best place to begin exploring Florence, both for an introduction to its art and history and—for those with a head for heights—panoramic views from atop the dome and campanile.
A tour of piazza del duomo