The best advice I received before heading to Italy was from Rick Steves: he suggested reserving your time to climb the Cathedral (Duomo) in Florence months in advance. And he was right: the Il Duomo di Firenze (the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) was requiring reservations months in advance. Here are our tips for reserving your tickets so you can climb Il Duomo in Florence, Italy.
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The Piazza del Duomo also includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. When you arrive in the city center, it is pretty impossible to not see this massive, beautiful complex. While you can tour many aspects of the complex and can climb the bell tower, climbing the Duomo is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
You can also spend the day around the area, eating and just discovering all the wonderful history the area has to offer. There are plenty of museums, all within a few blocks of you.
The site where the cathedral currently sits was originally a different structure, built around the 5th century. When the city decided that original cathedral was too small, they decided to build the current buildings, which began construction at the end of the 13th century.
However, the beautiful exterior of the buildings took hundreds of years to construct, finally completing in 1887. It is made of red, green, and white marble.
The Duomo began construction in the 15th Century. The entire building is around 90,000 square feet, with the dome reaching 375 feet high.
While you can drive into the city center area, you can not drive into the immediate vicinity of the Piazza del Duomo. If you are on foot or bicycle, this ends up being an amazing thing because you do not have to worry about staying on the sidewalks or if there are cars coming.
However, if you walk just a few blocks to many of the nearby museums, you will end up being around cars, and those can be pretty narrow and precarious. But if you are smart, you will stay on the sidewalks and watch for cars anywhere you go.
To reserve your ticket in advance to the Duomo, you will have to choose a date and time.
Tickets are 18 EUR (just a little more than $20 USD), and must be purchased in advance. According to the website, “time booking is mandatory to access Brunelleschi’s Dome.”
It is important you follow these instructions, and print your receipt, because that is what will get you into the Dome. They are serious about this, and there is nothing you can do to get in if you do not show up with your tickets.
To climb the Dome, you will want to show up at least 15 minutes in advance. Because they take people up every 30 minutes, you may want to ask people in line what time they are waiting for. You can generally skip ahead of the people who have a time later than you do.
Once you get through the line, you can begin your climb, which (as most dome climbs go) gets more and more narrow the closer to the top you get. There are many moments you will have to step aside or wait at the bottom of the stairs as people are coming up or down the other direction.
When you arrive at the top, the views of Florence are extraordinary. While there are other tall buildings in the city, none compare to this one.
While there are many hotels near the Piazza del Duomo, we would suggest the Hotel Pendini. While you can book through the website, I ended up booking through Booking.com because the days I wanted were sold out on their website, but not on Booking.com.
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