Florence Duomo – The City’s No 1 Tourist Attraction?
Dominating the skyline (and occasionally guiding a lost tourist back to the centre!), the Duomo of Florence is amongst the most photographed buildings in the city along with the Ponte Vecchio. Once you come here and see it for yourself, you realise that the scale of this building must have inspired awe in those who saw its “cupola” for the first time in 1436. The cupola is the domed bit – duomo means Cathedral, not dome apparently.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is at the centre of the Piazza and though it was started in 1296, the gothic facade is actually a 19th century addition. As expected, the area can get really busy, especially in the summer months and is busy with hawkers trying to sell over-priced tat and posters. “No, grazie” is a useful phrase in the centre of town!
The small building to the west is the Baptistry for (you guessed it) baptisms and along with Giotto’s Campanile (the tower), the three buildings are a Unesco World Heritage site which basically means they can’t paint the thing pink without completing lots of forms. Also, the cathedral is old and is permanently swathed in scaffolding somewhere as part of the cleaning process (thanks to Alexandra at ArtTrav for the insight). This is important if you are coming to take photos of the Duomo, or Florence in general; be aware that building works may obscure some of the best shots of the city and its monuments.
Later on, I’ll be posting more videos about the Duomo so follow me on Twitter to find out as soon as it’s live! Do you think that the Duomo is Florence’s biggest or best tourist attraction? Leave your comments below;.