We 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.
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.
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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