The Florence Cathedral, or Duomo of Florence (Not referring to the large Dome at the top of the Basilica, but actually a general term for cathedrals in Italy, e.g. Domus or House of God), is a an amazing site, and a must-see on any trip to Florence. I would say that the visit rivals that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, since you can literally climb to the top of the Dome, viewing the painted Dome up close, and taking panoramic views of the whole city of Florence.
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The trip is actually to three different buildings, the climb up the dome, and down to the Museum below the cathedral. The Cathedral is a visit similar to other Basilicas/Cathedrals, where you walk around. The real cool visits are climbing up the Dome, as well as the climb up the free standing bell tower, Giotto's Campanile.
The first climb up the Dome shows you the internal Dome. You can look down at the cathedral and up at the amazing dome!
Down there are some plexi-glass protectors that obstruct the view a little, but not so bad.
Above you can see the magnificent fresco painted on the internal part of the dome, depicting the last judgement.
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You can see some teasers as you climb!
And you can see the whole of Florence!!!
Also the Santa Maria Novella and the Basilica of San Lorenzo to the west.
Towards the Old Palace and the Piazza della Signoria:
As you come back down you can see a small exhibit on how the dome was built:
The whitewashed walls seem plain compared to the dome and marble polychrome exterior:
You can get some perspective snaps of the internal dome, farther away:
There are lots of stained-glass windows:
It's hard to even read what the letters are!
Also there is the baptistery that you can see at the Duomo, but unfortunately it was closed for construction during fall 2014 when we were there.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Follow me to see more-- next week we're going to the picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre (21st of Jan. 2015)!