Santa Maria del Fiore - Il Duomo - Cathedral of Florence
(Italian pronunciation: sahn-tah  mah-ree-ah  del  fyoh-ray)

Open Mon-Fri, 8:39-18:20; Sat, 8:30-17:00
Sung Mass: Sunday, 10:30am

view a short movie clip showing the Duomo interior (mov. format - 15.5 mb)

Set in the heart of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore - the Duomo, or cathedral of Florence -- dominates the city with its enormous dome.  Its sheer size was typical of Florentine determination to lead in all things.  To this day no other building stands taller in the city.  It is vast, holding up to 20,000 people, and is elegantly partnered by Giotto's Campanile and the Baptistery.   The Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Mary of the Flower is located in the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio who enlarged the existing structure. The building of the Duomo started in 1296, but the Cupola remained unfinished until 1421 when it was built by the famous architect Brunelleschi (Brunelleschi's revolutionary achievement was to build the largest dome of its time without scaffolding). The cupola’s interior was decorated by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari who painted a huge Last Judgement.

The top of the dome offers spectacular views over the city.  As you climb the 465 steps to the top, you can see how an inner shell provides a platform for the timbers that support the outer shell.

more photos and detailed information