A visit to the Duomo in Florence is free but tickets are required for the baptistry, the museum, and the campanile, while time-slot reservations are essential for climbing the cupola.
The sights associated with the Duomo in Florence — the cathedral, cupola, bell tower, baptistery, and museum — are traditionally seen on a combination ticket valid for 72 hours. However, during periods of special social distancing measures, sights are seen on individual tickets. Time-slot reservations are essential to climb the dome but no other skip-the-line tickets are available. Opening hours are long. Guided tours, especially those including several sights, are an easy way to obtain tickets and focus only on the highlights.
Visit the Duomo Sights in Florence
The Duomo di Firenze has been dominating the skyline of old town Florence ever since the completion of the beautiful Giotto campanile and the magnificent cupola designed by Brunelleschi. These mostly Gothic buildings are also worth exploring inside to enjoy the panoramas from the viewing platforms.
A visit to the complete Duomo complex includes the following:
- Duomo — the cathedral itself, enter from the West
- Cupola — climbing the dome, enter from the northern apse
- Campanile — climbing the bell tower
- Battistero — the baptistry
- Museo dell Opera — the cathedral museum, across from the east end of the church.
Tickets for the Duomo Sites in Florence
Admission to the duomo, which is frankly disappointingly bare inside, is free — the long queues are for security. A surprisingly small number of visitors are allowed inside at any given time. Admission to the other sights requires tickets. Guided tours are optional but a good way to get direct entry into the Duomo and tickets for other sights during busy periods.
Previously, the sights could only be seen on a combination ticket that was all or nothing, with no discount even if it was impossible to secure a time slot reservation to climb to the top of the cupola. The pendulum has swung to the other side during special measures periods — combination tickets are not sold and the Firenze Card is not available (or accepted) while visitor numbers are strictly controlled.
Tickets and opening hours are adapted more frequently to government travel regulations. Tickets are sold on the official website when the sights are allowed to open. While special deals such as the Firenze Card are not available, the official site is the cheapest for buying tickets and the only site where time-slot reservations may be made online. There is really no need to use any intermediaries, except when taking full guided tours.
**NOTE: When combination tickets are again available, it may be a requirement that the cupola is visited first, or the combination ticket will no longer work in the scanners for other venues.
The combination ticket was around €20 but when individual sights were open during 2020, the combined individual prices were significantly higher.
Time-slot reservations are only possible, and indeed essential, to climb the cupola. Queuing separately for each sight is required, although only the duomo and cupola tend to be very busy.
Admission to the Duomo in Florence
Admission to the Duomo is always free — the queue is for security and a surprisingly small number of visitors were allowed in at any given time even before the Coronavirus. If the queue is long, think twice. Any church charging admission in Florence, and many that don’t, have more impressive interiors and especially more art than the cathedral that is massive but rather austere inside. The best art was moved to the museum. Especially when also visiting the cupola — take a good look at the interior of the church on the way in our out — there is not much more to see, except when taking a guided tour, which will also ensure quick entry.
Admission to the crypt with archaeological excavations and Brunelleschi’s tomb is from inside the church. Admission is charged but it is currently closed — no special skip-the-line admission is possible to the cathedral even for ticket holders of other sights.
Mass is said several times per day — attendees enter directly but no sightseeing is allowed. The English mass is usually Saturday at 17:00.
See also: Visit the Cathedral of Florence for more on the famous Duomo.
Climbing the Brunelleschi Cupola
For many visitors climbing the cupola of the Duomo is one of the highlights of visiting Florence. Advanced time-slot reservations are essential and this is easily made when buying tickets online from the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Currently not available but likely to return later in 2021, tickets obtained elsewhere such as the Firenze Card require a visit to the ticket counter of the museum and then a time-slot reservation from the ticket machine — no refund if no time slots are available.
Climbing the cupola is in dedicated time slots but it is not a guided tour. Guided tours of the terraces are available — these tours usually use the same first steps as the cupola climb for a close-up view of the ceiling painting but then exit the building at the height of the side naves for a close up look at the rose windows, the apses, and the facade. Some allow for a visit to the cupola immediately after the tour without further queuing.
Guided tours for climbing the cupola and further sights are available and a good way to secure tickets doing busy periods. A good combination is to add a visit to the Accademia to see David — another site with ticket availability issues at busy times.
See Climbing the Brunelleschi Dome in Florence for more details.
Climbing Giotto’s Campanile in Florence
Climbing the campanile is easier than scaling the cupola. Not only is it a bit lower but it is a simple sturdy staircase all the way to the top — no narrow areas or waiting for others to descent first.
There is not much to see inside the bell tower, it is all about the view, and in contrast to climbing the cupola, the view includes the full dome and the baptistry that can hardly be seen from the top of the dome.
Reservations are not possible for the campanile but the queues, especially early morning but often also in the early evening, are usually short.
As the visit simply entails climbing the 411 stairs to the top, taking in the view, and decent, the line often moves fast anyway.
See Climb Giotto’s Campanile Bell Tower in Florence for more details.
Visiting the Baptistery (Battistero) in Florence
The baptistery is the oldest building of the cathedral ensemble and one of the oldest in all of Florence. Although possibly based on a Roman temple for Mars, the current structure is from the 11th and early 12th centuries.
Highlights of the baptistry in Florence are the three sets of bronze doors, especially the Gates of Paradise facing the Duomo, but these copies may be seen for free on the outside. (The original doors are inside the museum.)
Inside the baptistery, the main attraction is the 13th-century cupola ceiling mosaic —the most significant picture cycle in Florentine art predating Giotto.
The queues for the battistero are usually not long — seeing it at night is a good option as the ceiling is beautifully lit and without the glare of sunlight streaming through the lantern.
The baptistry and museum are usually seen on the same ticket, except on the first Tuesday of the month when the museum is closed. It is also frequently included in guided tours that also include the museum and/or climbing the cupola.
See Visit the Baptistry in Florence for more details on the battistero.
Visit the Duomo Museum in Florence
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) in Florence is home to most of the original art that was originally inside the buildings of the cathedral complex, as well as many that were previously used on the exteriors too.
Absolute highlights in addition to the usual displays in cathedral museums are the original bronze doors of the baptistry, the original sculptures from the exterior of the baptistry, the cathedral’s Gothic western facade, and the exterior of the campanile. The original reliefs from the bell tower are also inside the museum. Top individual works include the silver altar from the baptistry, several sculptures by Donatello including the wood-carved Repenting Mary Magdalene, and a pieta with a self-portrait by Michelangelo. (His David never made it up to the buttresses of the cathedral nor to this museum, it is now in the Galleria dell’ Accademia.)
The museum and baptistry are usually seen on the same ticket (€10) when the full combination ticket is not available. The museum is open daily, except the first Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 to 19:00.
See Visit the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence for more details.
→ See 2021 Florence New Opening Hours of Top Sights, Museums, and Churches for the latest information and reduced opening hours. For Duomo sights, see Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore for the latest opening hours and tickets.
More on the Duomo in Florence
- Visit the Cathedral of Florence (Duomo di Firenze)
- Visit the Baptistry (Battistero)
- Climb Giotto’s Campanile
- Climbing the Brunelleschi Campanile
- Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral)
- Tickets and Opening Hours for Visiting the Duomo Sights in Florence
- Current Opening Hours for Top Sights in Florence
- Guided Tours of the Duomo Sights
- More Photos on Flickr
More Articles on Florence Sights
The high season in Florence is increasingly long: Easter, May, July, August and the Christmas holidays are especially busy. November and January to March are the only quiet months. Plan and book time-slot reservation tickets and tours when available in advance. Top sights are quieter directly at opening time or in the late afternoon.
→ → Special opening hours for top sights in 2021 — most sights are open from May 2021 but with shorter opening hours and reservations mostly essential.
- Tips on Buying Tickets for the Uffizi Museum
- Tips on Buying Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Accademia (Michelangelo’s David)
- See Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’ Accademia
- Visit the Duomo sights: Cathedral (Duomo), Baptistery (Battistero), Bell Tower (Campanile), Dome (Cupola), Museum (Museo), and Tickets + Opening Hours
- Visit the Bargello Museum of Sculpture (Donatello’s Davids)
- Visit San Marco Museum to see the frescoes and altarpieces painted by Fra Angelico.
- Visit Santa Maria Novella Church and Museum to see medieval and Renaissance Art.
- Visit Santa Croce for Giotto Frescoes and Michelangelo’s Grave
- San Lorenzo complex: Visit the Basilica for Renaissance Art, See the Laurentian Medici Library by Michelangelo, and Visit the Medici Chapels (Michelangelo Statues)
- Save on Sightseeing in Florence with the Firenze Card (if the Firenzecard is still unavailable, consider the Turbopass Florence City Pass that includes online timeslot reservations for both the Uffizi and Accademia.
- See the Field of Miracles in Pisa
- The official Firenze Tourist Office website received a makeover and although still a bit cumbersome it has very useful information. Especially the pdf (alternative link) with the opening hours of all major sights. Unfortunately, it is only available for the current month but is the second last line on opening hours — the final say is the guard at the door, NOT the ticket window!
- Airbnb not only has many good deals on accommodation but also offers a variety of interesting experiences that goes beyond standard guided tours.
- Get Your Guide offers tours of all major sights while Tiqets sells online tickets for many top sights in Florence.
- Omio is good for online train tickets in Italy and most of Europe.