Florence‘s Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore — better known as the Duomo — is quite possibly the most recognized landmark in the city. Presiding over Piazza della Duomo, this green, white and pink marble beauty is an absolute must-see for families, and climbing the iconic dome as well as the adjacent Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile) is an experience kids will never forget.
The Duomo complex includes the cathedral, Brunelleschi’s dome, the Campanile, the Baptistery, the crypt (under the Cathedral) and the Museo dell’Opera, all covered on a single ticket. Read ahead for tips to make your visit as seamless as possible.
Book ahead. Il Grande Museo del Duomo tickets include all of the monuments listed above and are good for one visit to each within a 48-hour period (extending to 72 hours as of March 2018). We strongly recommend reserving advance tickets to avoid long waits. When you book online, check the box to select a “skip the line” timed entry slot. There is no charge for this feature, but you must reserve ahead to climb the dome. Children under 6 are free.
TIP: The Duomo is closed the first Tuesday of each month. Be sure to check the website for any other closings or updates.
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Spread out your visit. Leave ample time to enjoy each spot and give yourself rest or snack breaks in between (Perché No! is a nearby favorite for gelato). Avoid mid-morning, when crowds are at their thickest with tour groups, and don’t attempt the dome or bell tower climb in the heat of the day. Remember, you have two days from when you first use your ticket to visit all the sites. Families might try tackling the dome first thing one morning, then the Campanile early the next day.
TIP: If you missed choosing a time slot option when you booked, you can enter your ticket number here and make the required timed entry request for the dome.
Know the drill. Brief everyone about what lies ahead. Bring water and a few snacks. The paths up the Duomo and Campanile include people coming and going. They can feel daunting and closed in —single file at certain points — and there are no elevators. Challenge kids to count the steps (463 in the dome, 414 in the Campanile) as you ascend or visualize what the view is going to be like once you make it to the top.
Explore the complex thoroughly. The Duomo and Campanile are the headliners, but families shouldn’t overlook the other attractions. The Museo dell’Opera contains some of the finest examples of Renaissance sculpture in the world, and though quite large, it is a welcome (and air-conditioned!) respite for families. The Baptistery, where notables such as Dante and the Medici family were baptized, is also worth the time for its amazing mosaics. The bronze doors depicting scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist are replicas of the originals, which date back to 1330 and can be seen in the Museo dell’Opera. If time runs short, tired little ones can get a good look at the doors without going inside the Baptistery.
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Editor’s Note: Photo by Amy Andrews.
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