Worldschooling il Duomo’s Dome

Worldschooling il Duomo's DomeWe recently learned a little about Brunelleschi’s dome — il Duomo’s dome — by watching videos, visiting the dome, and checking out a 1/5 model of the dome.

Here’s our video explaining it all. Then scroll down for all the links and details.

The dome sits atop Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. It is the main church in Florence and was originally called il Duomo di Firenze, which means “the cathedral of Florence.”

The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower). These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The dome is the largest brick dome in the world.


Plan Your Own Trip

Watch the Video

NatGeo’s TVG Special: The Great Cathedral Mystery.

The video is a little over the top in typical NatGeo style, but it kept our interest and inspired us to learn more.

Visit the Dome

You can see the done from just about anywhere in Florence. We especially love the view from Piazza Michelangelo, the adjacent Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the ground in front of the cathedral.

It’s really fun to climb the dome. You’re all-in-one ticket to the Grande Museo del Duomo allows entrance to the cuppola (dome), Giotto’s Bell Tower, museum, baptistery, and Santa Reparata (the original church that the current church is built on top of).

The cathedral is free.

€ 15.00 for adults

€ 3.00 for kids 6-12

Buy a ticket online or at the museum and you MUST make a reservation to climb the dome after purchasing your ticket. You should make a reservation to climb the tower and visit the museum, because, why wait in line?

The ticket allows entrance to each site one time in the 48 hours after you first use your ticket.


Visit the Model

We walked upstream along the Arno to find Massimo Ricci’s 1/5 model of the dome in Anconella Park. On Google Maps it’s called Albereta. From the Ponte Vecchio it is a 4 km walk each way. You can also take the bus. There are no bathrooms at the park or anywhere nearby that we could find. Although, that might be different in summer.


Read About the Dome

There are several books about the il Duomo’s dome and every guidebook to Florence writes about it. Here are our two favorites.

 

 

Pippo the Fool by Tracey FernPippo the Fool by Tracey Fern, a kids book about Brunelleschi's Dome and the contest to build it..

This children’s book explores the contest held to decide who would build the great dome atop Florence’s cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi, better known in Florence as Pippo the Fool, knew he had a chance of winning.

 

 

 

 

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King about il Duomo’s Dome

 

 

Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King

This is the “grown up version” of Pippo the Fool. Same story, more details. Brunelleschi’s Dome is the story of how a Renaissance genius bent men, materials, and the very forces of nature to build an architectural wonder we continue to marvel at today.

 

 


Of course, it’s not just the dome. Through the process we learned about Renaissance architecture, art, engineering, artists, and got to explore a part of Florence we might not have seen had we not been on a mission. Il Duomo’s Dome taught us a lot.

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30 thoughts on “Worldschooling il Duomo’s Dome

  1. Beth Breiten

    I’ve been enjoying your posts. Almost feels like we are there with you. I am going to share the about Duomo’s Dome with some of my builders in my classroom, they will be excited to hear about this.

    1. Mel Post author

      I’m so glad! The dome is really fascinating. If I wasn’t facilitating my kids’ experience I never would have looked into it so much, but I am glad I did.

  2. Christina

    What an informative post. Our children have not yet been to Florence. But through this resource, we can certainly teach them about one of Florence’s must visit sites.

  3. Hendrik

    Such an interesting place! I visited Florence twice but so far I had no idea about this dome. I really like your way of introducing by video, since it not only gives a very good and intense impression about the dome itself but also about you as a blogger! Very well done and informative 🙂

  4. Louiela

    Thanks for touring us inside the dome and sharing to us a bit of its history and how it was made. The top is also a great spot to have a better view of the city below…

    This post just inspired me to dream big (more) and visit Florence, Italy soon… Thanks 🙂

  5. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    Loved your story. Your kids are certainly lucky to be worldschooling. It is amazing how many men of genius there were during the Renaissance. Here is a though question for you. Imagine how lightly populated Europe was at that time and then that a significant portion of these people were impoverished and illiterate. Look at how many renowned geniuses came from such a small group. Now look at today’s society where we have more people, education and tools (like the internet). Are there less geniuses coming up? Has the threshold for recognition change? It’s an interesting question and I am not sure of the answer.

  6. Janine Good

    Florence is incredible! I climbed the Giotto’s Bell Tower and was exhausted afterward, though it was so worth it. I didn’t get to the Duomo dome, but felt the wait was just too lengthy. The fact that is the main church in Florence gives me more reason to return and revisit this beautiful holy building.

    1. Mel Post author

      We saw long lines for the dome, but we had reservation tickets and walked right in. In fact, the whole reason we didn’t go up the dome until the end of our trip was because of the long lines.

  7. Global Girl Travels

    I’ve never been to Italy or Florence! But if I would go there someday, I’ll make sure to add this to my long list of things to see. The dome is beautiful and given its history, I would definitely love to see it myself someday.

  8. Cliodhna Ryan

    This looks like a really interesting place to visit. Your children are receiving a wonderful education! I really appreciate your inclusion of the resources you use. As a teacher I would love to use Pippo the Fool with my class. I always try to find a story book when teaching about an area.

  9. Kassie

    This dome is still one of the coolest acrchitectural things I’ve ever seen and climbing it was one of the my favorite things I did in Florence! The history behind the construction of it is fascinating and I will definitely be checking out some of the books you’ve suggested. I had no idea about the model dome. Would love to check that out someday!

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