Florence Cathedral: The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the episcopal church of the Archbishop of Florence. It is famous for its enormous cathedral dome. The enormous dome is a technical masterpiece of the early Renaissance by Brunelleschi. It weighs 37,000 tons! Its construction was not even technically possible at the time it was built.
It also has the fourth largest nave in the world with a length of 153 meters and a width of 38 meters. With its beautiful pointed arch vault, the Gothic building and the early Renaissance elements, it is very interesting in terms of art history.
The Cathedral Museum: Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
In the museum, you can learn more about the construction and history of the cathedral. It is located on the north-east side of the cathedral, in Piazza del Duomo. The main items on display are from the cathedral, such as statues by Michaelangelo and the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti . The Gate of Paradise was originally the entrance to the baptistery and is one of the most important works of art of the Renaissance. The silver altar of the baptistery and Donatello’s world-famous Marian figure, Mary Magdalene, are further highlights of the cathedral museum. You can also view the machines used to build the dome of the cathedral. And even a model of the dome has been preserved.
Today’s museum has a long history. It was originally used as the headquarters of an institution responsible for the construction of the cathedral. There used to be a workshop next to the cathedral where Michelangelo made the David. You can find it today in the Accademia di Belle Arti.
Tickets & Location
You can purchase a ticket that is valid for all the sights around the cathedral: cathedral with crypt, baptistery, ascent to the dome, walk up the bell tower, cathedral museum. Please note that there are different opening hours. Plan enough time – since the extensive renovation of the Cathedral Museum, more than 700 objects are on display in 20 rooms.
Location: At the Piazza del Duomo in the city center
The paintings and works of sculpture from antiquity to the late Baroque period are famous the world over, and the Uffizi is one of the most famous art museums in the world. Special works that you will find here include Michelangelo’s Tondo Dono, Raphael’s Self-Portrait, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Annunciation and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Works by Titian, Caravaggio, Cimabue, Holbein and van Dyck are also exhibited here.
The most famous piece in the collection is the Venus Medici, an antique statue of the modest Venus. Its origin is dated to the 1st century BC. The exact origin is unknown.
In addition to the works of art, the history of the museum is also interesting. An art collection was housed in the building from the very beginning, but was only partially accessible to the public at the time. The Uffizi is considered the first art museum in Europe. Today, around 2 million people visit the exhibition every year. Most of the Medici’s huge and important art collection is housed in the Uffizi Gallery.
And something else unusual originated here: the first floor of the building complex originally housed workshops for various craftsmen employed by the Medici. This included the instrument maker Cristofori, who developed the prototype of the piano. The Uffizi is therefore not only the first art museum in Europe, but also the birthplace of the piano.
Tickets & Location
Be sure to buy tickets online in advance, as you usually have to queue for several hours.
Please note: The security measures in the Uffizi Gallery are very strict. Any handbags, rucksacks etc. you bring with you will therefore be scanned by a scanner at the entrance. All larger items of luggage and handbags must be left at the checkroom. Better take a small bag with you.
Location: Directly on the banks of the River Arno, near the Ponte Vecchio.