The Duomo of Florence is a tall renaissance structure built by the Florentine architect, Filippo Brunelleschi. It is built next to the Florentine baptistery in Florence, Italy, and is located in the spectacular Piazza del Duomo. This 13th century gothic structure was named after Santa Del Fiore and was built on top of the ruins of a cathedral known as Santa Reparata from the 800s AD.
The main structure began under the command of the architect Arnolfo Cambio, the famous cupola dome that makes up the main feature of the outer face was designed in the 1500s. This structure is in line with the plans made by Filippo Brunelleschi. In their honour the two architects have their statues built outside the dome. As with many things in Italy, there is never any real hurry, and in the Duomo’s case this is no exception: it took nearly 200 years to finish!
The consecration was done soon after the completion of the Duomo even if the though the lawn was still unfinished. It wasn’t until the later half of the 1900s that the lawn area was finished and as a consequence this area of the Duomo incorporated a lot of modern design and architectural thinking of the day.
By the time of completion the gothic structure took the title of the fourth largest cathedral ever built after St. Peters of Rome, St. Paul in London and Duomo of Milan. Its exterior was designed with a tapestry of white, green and pink marble while the interior itself can feel a little bit of a let-down until you see the inside of the Duomo itself. One of the main attractions of the Duomo of Florence is the classy, mosaic pavements. The clock at the entrance was built in 1400 by the artist, Paolo Uccello, to be in line with ora italica which stipulated that 24 hrs ends at sunset. Incredibly, the clock still works!
The most fantastic artwork within the cathedral are the frescoes by Giogio Vasari dubbed the Last Judgement which he completed between 1572 and 1579. The painting of the frescoes were done by his brilliant but considered less creative student Federico Zuccari in 1579.
Florence Duomo Architecture
With a nave that spans 150 meters, the cathedral has a double dome, so that there are in fact two dome, one inside another. If you’re feeling adventurous then you can also climb to the top and enjoy the views (see below).
Given its size, the Duomo took nearly 140 years to build with the initial construction starting in 1296 and the consecration happening in March 1436. While it is often referred to as Duomo of Florence, its official name is Santa Del Fiore which translates to ‘Our Lady of The Flower’.
Where’s the best view of Duomo, Florence.
If you are in the Duomo then you are obviously not able to see and marvel at it from a distance so exactly where can you find the best view of the Duomo in Florence? For sheer wow factor you can’t beat the view from Piazza del Duomo itself, on a moonlit night it can look particularly spectacular. Another classic view is from Piazzale Michelangelo, which can be reached either by bus or by walking up from the Niccolo door found in the area of Oltrarno (this is also a lovely area in the summer months with wine bars that spill onto the cobbled roads and generally a good movida – the best pizzas can be found at the Beppe Fioraia). A little further up the road from the Piazzale, you can find the Church of Santa Miniato, and from here looking through the gates towards the Duomo you get the same visual effect of mountains peering through the clouds when flying. For the more adventurous, on the opposite hill to the Piazzale, you can find the town of Fiesole. Take the bus from the central train station and take in the view from Monastery of San Francesco. It’s a steep climb to the monastery, but well worth the walk (while in Fiesole you could take in the Archaeological area which features an Etruscan temple and a Roman theatre – there is also a coffee stop as well!).