A guide to visit Florence Cathedral in under two hours

A guide to visit Florence Cathedral in under two hours - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore rooftop
A guide to visit Florence Cathedral in under two hours – View from the rooftop of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

If you’re in Florence for a few days, visiting Florence Cathedral is almost a necessity given the size and significance of this monument. But there are numerous sections to visit in Florence Cathedral and the long lines outside can be daunting. Fret not, here is a guide to visit Florence Cathedral under two hours. We visited two sections – the Dome and the museum.

florence cathedral construction
Florence Cathedral – some parts were undergoing construction.
florence cathedral from the top
View of the cathedral from the top.

Tickets

Having visited the Duomo di Milano in Milan and climbed up to its rooftop, we had some idea of what to expect of this other Duomo. But we were not prepared for the long lines outside the church, just before the opening time of 10am. We arrived at the ticket office at about 9.45am and proceeded to buy our tickets for €18. The ticket staff said that we could make a reservation at the ticket machine near the counter. We made a reservation for the Dome at 10am. It was good that we made a reservation as there was a long line at the side of the cathedral, at 9.55am. The doors only opened at 10.10am.

[Sidetrack to a para on Washrooms]

There are washrooms available for free, but you have to enter the museum. There are also washrooms located at the other end of the cathedral, but those cost €1. It appears that most public toilets cost about €1 for use – the only positive thing is that there is toilet paper and the toilets and quite clean.

The Dome

dome florence cathedral painting
The artistic dome of the Florence Cathedral

The Dome involves a fair bit of walking and stair-climbing, so brace yourself. There were several people who paused to take breather, which was fine. It’s just that the paths can get quite narrow and the steps steep, so be careful. There are two viewing spaces around the dome. They are surrounded by an acrylic panel (so no one falls out). It was quite an experience to see the artwork up close. In the cathedral, these paintings would usually be high up. The paintings were quite unique too – there were pictures of demons being punished, which was quite similar to Chinese mythology too. It was most interesting.

rooftop view florence cathedral
Love the uniform coloured rooftops.

The view of the rooftop of the Florence Cathedral was nice too. You could see most of Florence from here. It was actually a really well-organised city.

rooftop view florence cathedral
Rooftops
rooftop Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The rooftop view of Florence is quite nice.
marble pillar rooftop view florence cathedral
The pillars were quite ornate too.

Museum

The Florence Cathedral museum had plenty of sculptures and art pieces too. I believe these were taken from parts of the church during restoration. My favourite part of the museum was the marble carvings, as there was an option of touching them. We went through several levels of the museum pretty quickly.

florence cathedral museum
Where the marble carvings were.
florence cathedral museum
For the first time, there were exhibits which could be touched.
florence cathedral museum
The viewing gallery.
donatello statues dome florence cathedral museum
This is a statue of a Saint, I forgot which. Just thought it was pretty well-done.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

It is not difficult to visit Florence Cathedral in under two hours – just go early to purchase the tickets, make a reservation in advance, be super focused and you’ll be out soon. After our visits, I can only say that the restoration work at the Cathedral was done very well as the paintings on the dome was done by different artists with different methods. Today, it looks uniformed. The sculptures on display at the museum also seem to be in very good condition. Definitely worth a visit, no matter how short it is.

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