The tour focuses on the art and history of the religious center of Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore's Cathedral, which Florentines simply refer to as the Duomo, the Baptistery, and Giotto's Bell Tower. Your guide will take you to the Duomo square for an overview of the history of the church and its Dome, the greatest architectural achievement of 15th-century Italy.
The Dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, who was not only a great artist, but also a brilliant inventor of engineering techniques. Since the mid-1300s, the Florentines had wanted to build a huge dome, but the issue was how to hold up something so big during construction! We will discuss Brunelleschi's ingenious techniques and incredible inventions, such as the ox-driven hoist which could lift tons of bricks, wood, stone and iron right to the top of the Dome. The result is, in the words of Leon Battista Alberti, "A structure so great, rising above the skies, large enough to shelter all the people of Tuscany in its shadow".
We will then admire and learn the history of the Baptistery or, as Dante called it, "My gorgeous St. John".
The Baptistery is a fascinating building dating back to... nobody knows for sure! It's an outstanding example of Florentine Romanesque, which draws its elements from Roman antiquity and combines it with a new sense of space and spirituality. The church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, which is why the Florentines used to be christened here. The monument has three bronze doors, North, South and East. The most famous set is known as the Gates of Paradise and it is a masterpiece by Lorenzo Ghiberti who spent 27 years casting them.
Inside this building, we will be astonished by the medieval mosaics of the ceiling, sparkling of beauty on their gilded background. Nowhere else in Tuscany one can admire mosaics like these! Generations of artists were involved in putting together millions of small glass tiles to give life to their profound religious sentiment, representing, in horizontal bands, episodes from the Old and New testament, dominated by a gigantic and impressive judging Christ.
Next to the Cathedral, stands the elegant and slender bell tower, or Campanile, designed by Giotto in 1334. In those times, it was the highest bell tower in the world and it certainly was the pride and joy of the whole of Florence!
The highlight of our tour is the new Opera del Duomo Museum, reopened with a brand new display in 2015.
The museum highlight include the touching Pietà by Michelangelo, probably sculpted for his tomb; the amazingly modern Mary Magdalen in wood by Donatello; the original set of golden doors known as the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti and the most inpressive reconstruction of the full scale Medieval facade of the Duomo planned by the architect Arnoldo di Cambio.
€ 200 for 3 hr tour (up to 5 people)
For a larger party, please contact us.
€ 15 (Includes Opera del Duomo Museum and Baptistery. It does NOT include the Duomo interior)
Dress code: no shorts, no sleeveless.