The Florence Cathedral, the Duomo for the Florentines, is the most recognisable and important figure in the skyline of Florence, the city that was brought to its golden ages by the Medici dynasty. The Florence Cathedral, the full name of which is Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers, in English) is one of the most singular cathedrals in the world: Thanks to the amazing green, pink and white marble panels that cover its exterior walls, it receives millions of tourists every year.
The Florence Cathedral, of Italian-Gothic Renaissance style, was built between 1296 and 1368 and was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. However, its famous dome wouldn’t be built until almost a century later, by the local architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Nowadays, it constitutes one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, and its interior design is as beautiful as the outside.
Besides the famous Dome, the Florence Cathedral includes the main façade, the Baptistery of Saint John and Giotto’s Campanile, and it has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by the Unesco.
The Florence Cathedral or Duomo is located in the neighbourhood of San Giovanni, one of the most central neighbourhoods of Florence. The locals usually prefer to live a bit far from the city centre, because as you will see as you walk through the streets surrounding the Florence Cathedral, the amount of tourists in the city is astounding! This is why, during your stay, your main neighbours will be other tourists like yourself, as well as young students and professionals, and foreigners who have come to Florence for a little while to work or study.
If you like to do some shopping in the cities you visit, you will like to know that the apartments near the Florence Cathedral are surrounded by all kinds of shops! In fact, the Florence Cathedral is totally surrounded by shops – and no, we’re not referring to the street vendors who sell art and souvenirs, although the beautiful paintings and drawings would be a great memory from your trip to Florence. We’re referring to the dozens of shops located in Via del Calzaiuoli, Via dei Medici, Via Roma or Via dei Campidoglio. In fact, almost all the streets that lead to the Florence Cathedral are full of shops by quality brands, such as Prada, Valentino, Miu Miu, Massimo Dutti, or Sisley, as well as exclusive shops by other Italian designers. If you’re travelling with children, there is a Disney Store in Via del Calzaiuoli. If you prefer vintage shopping, you can also visit the San Lorenzo market, the biggest second-hand flea market in the city.
Florence is quite a small city, and the main tourist attractions are concentrated in the city centre. In fact, a day would be enough to pay a quick visit to Florence (but obviously not enough to enjoy it as it deserves and to visit all the museums and the culture there), so you can imagine how reachable it is by foot. There isn’t a metro or an inner-city train system, so the best way to move around will be your own feet. If you’re tired, know that the locals move around by bus, and that there are bus stops around the Florence Cathedral: The closest ones are in Via delle Oche, Via Calimala and Piazza dell’Olio.
Finally, there is yet another nice option to move around the Florence Cathedral: a bike! Every year, there are more tourists who choose to rent a bike to visit the city, and it sure is a fun option. But be careful not to run over the crowds of tourists!
Of course, the main attraction around the apartments near the Florence Cathedral… Is the Florence Cathedral! The ticket costs around 15 euros, but includes the entrance to the cathedral, the dome, the Giotto’s Campanile, the crypts, the Baptistery and the Museo dell’Opera. It usually opens at 10, but there is always a queue to enter, so we recommend you to go there early! Also, keep in mind that in order to enter, you will need to cover your shoulders and your knees, so plan your outfit in advance. Don’t forget to visit the Museo dell’Opera, where you will be able to see masterpieces such as La Pietà by Michelangelo, as well as several sculptures by Donatello.
There is much more to visit around the Florence Cathedral. Right behind it, you will find the beautiful Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the Panciatichi Palace, and in front of it you will find the beautiful Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore. Close by, you will also find the Galleria dell’Accademia, where you will be able to see some of the most beautiful sculptures by Michelangelo, such as the David and the Prigioni. Besides, Florence centre isn’t all that big, so you will be at walking distance from many other important monuments, such as the Ponte Vecchio or the Uffizi Gallery.
Finally, keep in mind that there are many companies that offer tours around the city centre, and that they have different ones depending on what part of the city or the city’s history you are interested in. Florence has one of the richest histories in the world, and a tour will be a great option.
The Florence Cathedral probably left you a bit hungry, so it’s time for food! Italian cuisine is so delicious that it will be hard to find a place that isn’t satisfying, but still, be careful around the apartments near the Florence Cathedral, because there are some overpriced tourist traps: Be sure to check the menu before sitting! That said, there are a few places that we can recommend, where you will be able to try some local and delicious cuisine, such as the Fiaschetteria Nuvoli, a typical Tuscan tavern very well known and appreciated by the locals. I’ Mangiarino and the Osteria dell’Olio will also leave your belly full and happy.
If you need to grab something quick, we recommend you to buy a focaccia in any bakery that you see around – they have several kinds, and they are all so yummy!
Italy is one of the European countries that offers the liveliest atmosphere during the night, and you will see how around the Florence Cathedral there is a lot of entertainment going on. For an evening outing, we recommend the wine cellar Coquinarius, where you will be able to eat some dinner while tasting marvellous Tuscan wines. For drinks, we recommend the Lion’s Fountain Irish Pub, located in the Piazza di San Pier Maggiore.
If you want to go clubbing, consider that, as in many European cities, the best clubs aren’t in the city centre. However, around the Florence Cathedral you will find the nightclub Full Up, where you will be able to dance all night to electronic music.