Florence, Italy. October 2014.
Going up the cupola of Florence’s duomo (aka Santa Maria del Fiore) can be done with a combined 10€ ticket that includes going up Giotto’s Tower and entrance to The Baptistry of St. John. The ticket is good for 24 hours so if you’ve got good legs for climbing then you can make the most of your ticket. For some people though, the views from the tower and the cupola are pretty much the same, so if you’re pressed for time or if (like me) your legs have only got enough juice for one climb, then one climb is just as well.
What I like about gaining access to the cupola is that it affords you views of the duomo that can really change your opinion of it. As people who’ve visited Florence’s duomo know, compared to the intricately detailed exterior, the interior is relatively sparse. The floors have beautiful tilework, but generally the walls are quite bare and austere.
Baptistry of St. John. Florence, Italy. October 2014.
The smallest structure of the big three that occupy Piazza del Duomo (The Baptistry, The Duomo, and Giotto’s Belltower), this beautifully symmetrical and geometric building is definitely not to be overlooked. I think most people stay outside to admire the signature green-white-pink tile work as well as the famous “gates of paradise” by Lorenzo Ghiberti, but the interior of the baptistery is literally a gold mine.
This 10-euro ticket will get you access to The Baptistry of St. John, the cupola of the duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), as well as Giotto’s Campanile. The Duomo itself is free and requires no ticket. While I think ten euro is a pretty fair price for a 24-hour-valid access to these sights, I also think it’s a lot to cover in such a short amount of time. The cupola and the belltower require serious climbing (more than 400 steps apiece), so a bit of spacing and allotted water breaks might be good ideas there. It is also possible to space it out across 2 days, if you want to only conquer 1 climb a day. Since the ticket is good for 24 hours, you can climb one at midday on day one, and before midday on day two, or whatnot. The views are more than worth it–but more on that on a different post.