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. 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 and Opening Hours 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.
In 2022, the previous system of combination tickets is returning to see the sites associated with the cathedral. Three passes are available (with the rivalry of the artists returning in the names of tickets):
- Ghiberti Pass — baptistery, museum, Santa Reparata (crypt of the Duomo).
- Giotto Pass — bell tower, baptistery, museum, Santa Reparata (crypt of the Duomo).
- Brunelleschi Pass — dome (must be the first site visited!), bell tower, baptistery, museum, Santa Reparata (crypt of the Duomo).
Tickets are sold on the official website where reservations for climbing the cupola may be made. No time-slot reservations or skip-the-line options are available to the other sites. However, note that all passes allow easy entry into the Duomo (to see Santa Reparata) by entering the church from the entrance near the bell tower. Tickets are also available from the ticket offices near the baptistery and to the south side of the transept but online purchases are simpler.
Special deals such as the Firenze Card are not available (it should return later in the year). For admission tickets, there is really no need to use any intermediaries, except when taking full guided tours, or if the better cancelation conditions (and sometimes availability) of approved ticket resellers appeal.
Opening Hours of Duomo Sights in Florence:
As before, admission to the Duomo remains free and without a ticket reservation option, while ticket reservations are obligatory and only possible for climbing the dome. The previous combination ticket system was reintroduced:
- Duomo (Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore) — 10:15 – 16:30, Monday to Saturday; closed Sunday except for services.
- Brunelleschi Dome — 8:15 – 18:45 on weekdays, 8:15 – 16:30 on Saturday, 12:45 -16:30 on Sunday. (Time-slot reservations are always essential.)
- Campanile of Giotto — 8:15 – 19:00, Monday to Sunday.
- Museo dell’Opera del Duomo — 9:00 – 19:30, Monday to Sunday; closed first Tuesday of the month.
- Baptistery — 9:00 – 19:30 Monday to Sunday.
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 or out — there is not much more to see, except when taking a guided tour, which will also ensure quick entry. (More comprehensive tours may give better value and include the terraces, dome, and admission to all sites.)
Admission to the Santa Reparata (in the crypt) with archaeological excavations and Brunelleschi’s tomb is from inside the church. Admission is included in all the passes and it is often possible to skip the lines at the western side by entering through the side door near the bell tower.
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 — 463 steps but worth it. 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 the year, 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 — these tours usually include the admission tickets to other Duomo sites to visit later. 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 (414 steps) but it is a simple sturdy staircase all the way to the top — no narrow areas or waiting for others to descend 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 414 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 is included in all duomo passes and often included in guided tours too, as it gives visitors an opportunity to see many of the original art close up.
See Visit the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence for more details.
→ See 2022 Florence New Opening Hours of Top Sights, Museums, and Churches for the latest information and current opening hours.
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 mid-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 2022 — most sights are open normal hours in 2022 but advance time-slot reservations are often 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.
- Travel to Pisa to see the Field of Miracles and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Visit the magnificent Romanesque-Gothic cathedral in nearby Siena.
- Save on top Italian designer fashion at The Mall Factory Outlet Stores.
- 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!
- 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.