Florence Cathedral guided tour

florence cathedral guided tour
  • Baptistery

  • Florence Cathedral interior

  • Santa Reparata ‘crypt’

  • Brunelleschi’s dome

  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Duration of the tour: 2/3 hours, depending on how many places you visit

Difficulty: medium

Accessibility for different ables: no dome and no bell tower

Suitable for children: yes

Difference in level: 100 metres (dome and bell tower)

Other important information at the bottom of the page (or click here)

Guided tour of the Duomo of Florence, one of the largest cathedrals in the world

The Cathedral of Florence tour means doing a journey of knowledge through the time that has seen the elevation, towards the sky of the city, of an imposing edifice, built to the glory of God but also as a celebration of Florence itself. By this guided tour you will then discover the events of men who, with physical efforts and great technical ingenuity, have created an extraordinary building like the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the biggest cathedrals in the world.

If you have bought the ticket for the Baptistery, or the cumulative ticket for Baptistery plus the Museo dell’Opera, the guided tour of the complex can start from there, an ancient building that dates back to Late Antiquity. From outside the building, we can see the magnificent bronze doors featuring the Old and New Testament Stories. Made by the goldsmith Lorenzo Ghiberti, who worked on them for over fifty years, the doors represent an exceptional itinerary through the history of humankind salvation, as well as being an exceptional document of the Florentine sculpture of the early fifteenth century.

florence cathedral guided tour

The facade of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

The splendid mosaics of the Baptistery

Entering the Baptistery, you will be fascinated by this environment rich in history and works of art; reaching the area of the altar you can see, through some grates, the surviving mosaics of domus that stood here during the Roman age. It’s looking upwards that instead you will be dazzled by the light of the splendid golden mosaics dating back to the thirteenth century and representing the Patriarchs and Christ stories, as well as an imposing scene of the Last Judgment.

Leaving the Baptistery, it will be the turn of the Cathedral’s interior which we access by a portal of the splendid church facade; although the making of the latter only dates back to the nineteenth century, it is in any case a work of exquisite workmanship to which some of the most important Italian sculptors of the time worked on.

The interior of the Duomo and the church of Santa Reparata

Inside the Cathedral of Florence, you will be completely enraptured by the grandeur of its environment and also by the puissance of its piers, carved in the local stone (the ‘pietra serena’). The vast space of the walls – simply white – is where, however, there are two important perspective painting essays of the fifteenth century, made by Paolo Uccello and Andrea del Castagno.

The painted panel by Domenico di Michelino, featuring Dante and the reigns of the Divine Comedy – probably the most famous representation of the Florentine poet – suggests a particular link between Dante’s most famous literary work and the Cathedral: we will discover together what this link is…

From inside the church, we move on with the Florence Cathedral tour descending into what is the extraordinary environment below the church, improperly defined as ‘crypt‘ which instead corresponds to the archaeological remnants of Santa Reparata, that is to say, the church that stood before the current Cathedral. Following the route available for visitors, we go to visit a truly fascinating space, since the ancient church has almost entirely preserved the wonderful mosaic floor despite the passing of the centuries and the many renovations to which it has been subjected. What can be admired on this wonderful pavement is the extraordinary representation of animals and, above all, the striking inscriptions documenting the donations that the ancient church received by faithful for its construction.

florence cathedral guided tour

The poignant carving Magdalene by Donatello

The golden mosaics of the Baptistery

Brunelleschi’s dome

After visiting the Duomo, we go up to visit the dome (reservation mandatory, the ticket can be purchased on the online store), one of the most fascinating buildings in the world. This huge roof of the church that the Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed, conceals many technical secrets that we will discover as we go up …

Looking out inside the tambour, we will notice the dizzying view that can be enjoyed from that point of the church. Taking a look then at the vaults of the dome, we are able to see the gigantic figures of the Last Judgment painted by Giorgio Vasari in the second half of the sixteenth century. Once we reach the dome lantern, the time will finally come to enjoy the breathtaking view over the whole city. The conquest of the Cathedral’s top is the unmissable opportunity to take photos of Florence and also to take a selfie that you will be then sharing with friends and relatives.

The visit to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

After the lunch break, we go to visit the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, a complex of great charm thanks to its recent renovation. Among the new interesting things that can now be seen, the most spectacular one is undoubtedly the original Cathedral facade – dating back to 1296 – which has been rebuilt to 1: 1 scale with all the marble decorations that have been preserved. The museum also keeps extraordinary artistic masterpieces, some of which were once present inside the Cathedral and the Baptistery, such as the poignant Magdalene by Donatello – a wooden statue of the Florentine sculptor – or the spectacular Cantorie (choir balconies), also by Donatello and Luca della Robbia. Another astonishing work here preserved is the Bandini Pietà, a work by Michelangelo (not to be confused with his famous Roman sculpture of the same subject but the latter is equally rich in pathos like the Vatican one).

After the itinerary of the museum, we have finished the Cathedral of Florence guided tour. If you buy the ticket, you can also visit the Giotto’s bell tower that is the other panoramic point from which to enjoy a breathtaking view. Once you reach the top of that structure, by looking east you can admire the Cathedral bulk and the dome. Only at the end of this itinerary you will realize that a visit to the complex of the Florence Cathedral does not only mean knowing the events regarding a building but it means discovering the history of a great idea that has become reality.

museo dell'opera tour

Pietà Bandini, by Michelangelo

florence cathedral guided tour

The Choir balcony by Donatello

The original Door of the Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti, kept in the Museo dell’Opera

important Information about the tour (click here)

The tour can be booked in combination with the other tours and trekkings available on Florence and Siena which can be consulted in the Menu.

A convenient way to access all the museums or to use the Florentine public transport service is by the Firenze Card (temporarily not active).

The activity here proposed is not a pre-organised tour but a private tour that is carried out on request for individuals or groups organised by a tourist company and can be customised for starting time, meeting place and duration, depending on the customer’s needs.

 

Duration of the private guided tour of Florence Cathedral

The duration of the guided tour of the Florence Cathedral depends on how many places in the complex the client wants to visit. The minimum duration is 2 hours; the maximum duration, with a visit to the interior of the Cathedral, Baptistery, Crypt of Santa Reparata, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, is 3 hours. Visits to the dome and bell tower are not included in the tour and can be visited independently with the entrance ticket (see below).

Radio rental compulsory from 6 people onwards

From 6 people onwards, to facilitate listening to the guide explanations and ensuring social distancing outdoors and indoors, it is strictly recommended to rent radio devices with transmitters that ensure perfect listening to the explanations of the guide even from a distance; if you then visit the inside of the monuments, the rental of radios is compulsory for 4 or more people. The service is booked by the guide when the guided tour is requested, but the rental cost, which is € 1.00 per person for 2 or 3 hours, is charged to the customer and can be paid directly to the guide who will then take care to pay the supplier.

Carers or teachers of school groups do not pay for the rental of the radio.

 

Important information about the access to the Dome

From March 2022 it is no longer possible for tourist guides to access the dome to accompany visitors, unless the customer pays the entrance ticket for the guide, which costs € 30.00 (Brunelleschi Pass). If the customer enters the dome without a guide, he will still be given all the information necessary in advance to enjoy the visit independently. For the remaining sites customers don’t need to purchase the ticket of the Cathedral complex to the tour guide. 

TAKE NOTICE: please, note that to access the dome lantern you have to climb 463 steps and there are no elevators. The ascent to the dome is not recommended for the people suffering from heart disease and vertigo.

Due to the large turnout in high season, it is highly recommended to purchase the access ticket to the dome (Brunelleschi Pass) by the purchasing of the ticket on the official store and to do so well in advance. The Brunelleschi Pass also includes access to Giotto’s bell tower.

 

Florence Cathedral opening hours:

Since the entrance times to the Duomo complex vary according to religious functions, the most convenient way to check the openings for the desired date is to consult the official website by clicking on the clock icon.

 

Ticket prices for the Duomo Complex of Florence

From 1 March 2022 there are 3 different types of tickets that allow access to the Duomo complex:

Ghiberti Pass, valid for 3 days (cost € 15 for adults, € 5 for children aged 7 to 14, free up to 6 years), which includes access to the Baptistery, the Opera Museum and the ‘Crypt’ of Santa Repaired;

Giotto Pass, valid for 3 days (cost € 20 for adults, € 7 for children from 7 to 14, free up to 6 years), which allows access to the Bell Tower, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera and ‘Crypt’ of Santa Reparata;

Brunelleschi Pass, valid for 3 days (cost € 30 for adults, € 12 for children from 7 to 14 years, free up to 6 years), which allows access to the Dome, Bell Tower, Baptistery, Museo dell’Opera and Crypt of Santa Reparata.

Tickets can be purchased on the complex’s official website. Admission to the Cathedral alone is free and does not require a reservation; in high season and on weekends, however, there is a need to queue up. To skip the line, you just need to be in possession of one of the 3 tickets described above and the entrance takes place from the South door of the Duomo, near the bell tower door.

 

The guide does not provide private transport service, which entails the client needs to reach the meeting point established in the route on his own.

To get the contact of a licensed driver who provides private transfer service, as well as getting further information about the tour, please write to:

info@guidaturistica-michelebusillo.com, also on Whatsapp or Telegram

 

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Cost and reservation of the tour (click here)

 

Cost of the Florence Cathedral private guided tour

The rate for a 2-hours private guided tour is 120.00 € (price in total and not per person), for 3 hours 150.00 € (always price in total and not per person).

For further information about the rates, also to check the deals available, please visit the dedicated section by clicking here.

How to book the tour?

The tour can be booked by writing an email, calling at +393332591526 or texting the guide (also via Whatsapp or Telegram) to check availability for the requested day. 

Once the day and time of the tour have been agreed with the guide, to book it is necessary to advance 50% of the tour value with a deposit to be paid by credit card.

Attention: pay the deposit only after agreed the date and the details of the tour with the guide. The remaining payment of the guided tour takes place after the tour by card, in cash or by bank transfer.

Cancellation Policy

It is the responsibility of the guide to guarantee the guide service in any case. If, even for personal reasons, the guide is unable to perform the service in the date set with the client, it will be his concern to contact a trusted colleague who can replace him and therefore guarantee the customer service.

The cancellation of the tour from the client can be done free of charge by giving timely notice to the guide before 48 hours from the date and time agreed for the service. In this case the deposit paid in advance by the customer will be returned by the guide. If instead cancellation is made by the customer when there are less than 48 hours before the date agreed for the service, the customer will lose the deposit paid.

Cancellation can be made by promptly communicating it to the guide with via email, calling the number +393332591526 or by texting (also via Whatsapp or Telegram).

 

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How to reach Florence Historic centre (click here)

By Car

Reachable via the A1 motorway (Firenze Scandicci exit and from there continue towards the center, reaching the area of the Santa Maria Novella station, where there is a multi-storey underground car park (reachable only for vehicles with engines from EURO 6 onwards). From the station underpass, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella can be reached in a few minutes.

As a cheaper alternative to the underground car park, there is the Piazzale Montelungo car park (always subject to charges). An excellent alternative to car parking near the center historic is to leave the vehicle at the Villa Costanza car park and from there take the T1 tram line which takes about 22 minutes to reach the Santa Maria Novella station. The T1 line has stops both before and after the Santa Maria station Novella that can be convenient to reach any accommodation For more information on the Tramvia timetables and stops click here.

 

By private bus lines

There are connections of private lines to reach Florence, such as Italbus and Flixbus which reach the Villa Costanza tramway station; from the latter the tram line takes about 22 minutes to reach Santa Maria Novella station. For more info on the Tramvia timetables click here.

 

By Plane

Florence can be reached by plane via the Amerigo Vespucci Airport. From here the historic center is connected:

With the Tram

The T2 line of the Tramway connects Florence Airport with the centre and arrives in Piazza dell’Unità italiana. For more info on the Tramvia timetables click here.

 

With Taxi service

Contatctable to the numbers +390554643159 al +390554242 or on the web site clicking here.

 

By train

Florence can be reached by train with the Trenitalia service. Depending on your accommodation needs, you can arrive in Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Firenze Rifredi or Firenze Campo di Marte. With the regional lines then Florence can also be reached from other cities of Tuscany.

 

Organised Groups with tourist coach

For organised groups by touristic bus, there are drop-off/drop-on points for passengers in the urban centre of Florence (click here to view the points).

Tourist coaches are subject to the payment of a checkpoint (more information here).

 

 

By Camper

Camper owners find car parks for campers (only some of these are equipped) in Via delle Porte Sante,, in Via delle Porte Sante, in Viale Abramo Lincoln, in Via Luigi Castaldi, in Largo Alcide De Gasperi, at the Largo Alcide De Gasperi (the latter connected to the center with the Nelli-Torregalli tram stop). For more info on the equipped Campervan areas around Florence click here.

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