The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the Cathedral of Florence Italy. The project was started in 1296 by architect Arnolfo Di Cambio. The design he was going for was a Gothic style which he loved. There were many delays when it came to building the Cathedral. It wasn’t until 1421 when sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi was able to start the project again and finish it. It took 15 years to complete. The red dome of the cathedral is extremely famous and has been considered the symbol of Florence. The red dome is the largest dome in the world standing at 100m high. On the inner side of the dome, there is beautiful artwork on the dome itself. The masterpiece was started in 1572 by artists Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari and finished in 1579. The ceiling has amazing artwork with the twenty-four elders of the Apocolypse, angles with instruments, a family of saints, and all the regions of hell with sins. There are eight sections of the vault “or inner dome” which all have artwork. The artists represent beauty and imperfection and dark and light. The idea behind the church’s name was from the symbol of Florence, the lily. The church was considered to be the state church.

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Here is an Awesome look at the Cathedral from inside and out:

Video of the Dome by National Geographic:


Giotto Bell Tower:

At the very top of the Cathedral, there is a giant bell tower, Giotto's Bell Tower, and at the top it overlooks the city and it is one of the most beautiful views you can get of the city. The bell tower project began in 1334 by Giotto himself. Giotto died in 1337 and only the first part of the tower was completed. The bell was finally completed in 1359 by Francisco Talenti and is one of the four principal monuments on the Piazza del Duomo.

Walk up the tower: video cred by Don Boynton


What is near:

On the opposite side of the cathedral, there is a beautiful Baptist Church, Baptistery of San Giovanni. The Baptistery is said to be dated back all the way from the Romans. One way this came about was because of the ancient fragments, inscriptions, and columns holding the sides, which dates back to Roman times. The Baptistery is home to many works of art, Cimabue, Coppo di Marcovaldo, Donatello's Penitent Magdalene, and the Silver Altar. 


The church can fit about 30,000 people in it. At the time it was built, it was the biggest church in the world. Today there are only three churches that are bigger and they are Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the Cathedral of Seville, and the Cathedral of Milan. 


The inside holds many important works of art and sculptures. There is a collection of over 700 beautiful works of art from artists and architects such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Ucello, and Castagno. When you immediately walk in you can find yourself staring at a beautiful clock that was designed in 1443 by Paolo Uccello. Everything about the church holds importance to Florence and its people. It is to this day the most important landmark in Florence. It took 140 years to finally finish and countless artists and architects. Today there is a sculpture of Brunelleschi for his hard work in completing the beautiful church. 

 Statue of David

 Outside the Cathedral 

Outside the Cathedral 

Outside the Cathedral 

Top 10 things to do in or around the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore according to Culture Trip. 

  • Check out the most historic architecture in all of Italy at the Cathedral

  • Climb the Campanile to see a beautiful view of Florence and other sides and pieces of the Cathedral. 

  • The golden doors which haven’t been discussed yet are some of the most beautiful and stunning pieces of the Cathedral. Some would say it’s the biggest asset as it’s the first thing you will see going in. While going in, look up and check out the beautiful artwork done on the top of the vaulted dome. 

  • Check out where the Medici family lived at Palazzo Vecchio. You can take a guided tour, or check it out yourself and look at the furniture, paintings, and even scripts from the Medici family 

  • You must get some pizza, gelato, or pasta while you are near the Cathedral as there are many places. 

  • Check out the church between the Duermo called Orsanmichele as it is free to the public. It is stunning to look at with its glass windows. Fun fact it was originally built as a grain market place and you can see holes in the ceiling to poor the grain. 

  • Do not forget to rub the famous bronze boar and its snout. Its name is “II Porcellino”, and it is tradition for visitors to put a coin in the mouth of the boar and then rub its snout for good luck. On the way there you can shop at many markets.

  • Take a look at some of the most famous statues, like the statue of David and the fountain of Neptune. 

  • Visit the most famous art museum in Italy called Uffizi. It is home to some the most famous artworks from artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Giotti

  • Lastly, go check out Italy’s fashion side. Not only do they have great art and architecture, but near the Duermo is the Gucci Museum. Gucci started in Florence and it is something locals are proud to rep. 




Work Cited:

Andrés, Sonia Cuesta de. “The Top 10 Things to Do in Duomo and Piazza Della Signoria.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 13 Aug. 2015, 

author, About the, et al. “Brunelleschi's Dome of Florence Cathedral.” Florence Inferno, 16 May 2020, 

Cathedral of Florence, 

“The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore: The Opera Del Duomo.” OPA Anniversario Cupola, 

“Duomo Florence (Cathedral of Florence) - Useful Information.” Florence Museum, 

“Exploring Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral: A Visitor's Guide: Planetware.”, 

“Inside Florence's Cathedral, the Duomo.” Visit Florence - Fall in Love with Florence, Italy!,