Piazza del Duomo
Join the bustling crowds, vendors and street performers in the cultural and geographical heart of Florence, the Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral for which the square is named is a spectacular centerpiece. In its shadow you will find several other historical, artistic and architectural treasures.
The Gothic facades of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto), make a striking first impression with pink, green and white marble designs standing out from the stone colors of the buildings around them. Enjoy an uninterrupted panorama of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities from the top of either building. Climb the dome’s 463 steps for breathtaking views towards the Tuscan hills.
Directly opposite the entrance to the cathedral is the Baptistery of St. John, one of Florence’s oldest buildings. It was built between 1059 and 1128. The octagonal structure is renowned for the three sets of bronze doors on the northeast and south entrances. Each set is made up of several panels depicting biblical scenes. The most famous is the Gates of Paradise on the east side. The interior of the baptistery is often compared to the Pantheon of Rome, with its ornately decorated walls and marble inlays arranged in geometrical patterns.
Explore the east of the piazza to see the Duomo Works Museum (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo). This building contains several artworks originally commissioned for the dome. Find a superb collection of Gothic sculptures by artists such as Donatello, as well as the original Gates of Paradise.
Walk through the grand arches of the Loggia del Bigallo on the corner of Via dei Calzaiuoli and Piazza San Giovanni and see more devotional works such as frescoes and a painted cross that date back to the 14th century.
You can easily spend a day taking in the attractions of the piazza. The crowds can be busy, but you needn’t feel rushed. Pull up a seat in the shade, enjoy a panini or gelato from one of the many food vendors and watch the comings and goings in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.