The Two Giants
There are so many masterpieces to discover in Florence but two attractions stand head and shoulders above the rest: the Duomo Complex with Brunelleschi’s famous Dome and the Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s original David. With so much demand these sites can be overcrowded, especially during the summer months, but you’ll have the best possible experience on this exclusive Florence tour: combining careful timing and skip-the-line entries you’ll be set apart from the crowds.
DURATION: 4 hours
- Accademia Gallery (visit with skip-the-line ticket)
- The Duomo Complex
- Duomo Dome climb (skip-the-line ticket)
We start our walking tour visiting the ACCADEMIA GALLERY, museum that houses the world’s most famous sculpture: Michelangelo’s David and other precious works like the statue of St. Matthew, made for the Cathedral of Florence, and the “Prisoners/Slaves”, a marble group planned for the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome. These are some of the finest examples of Michelangelo’s habitual working practice, referred to as “non-finito” or “incomplete”, and emblematic of the struggle of man to free the spirit from matter. We enter the museum with a skip-the-line ticket and we lose ourselves in Michelangelo’s genial art and discover his tormented soul.
The tour continues to the Religious Centre where you can admire Piazza del Duomo.
The DUOMO COMPLEX is one of the undisputed masterpieces of all time and it consists of five monuments all connected to the city’s Cathedral:
- The breathtaking Cathedral named Santa Maria del Fiore is the 4th biggest church in the world. It’s a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with white, green and pink marble decorations, the interior is famous for its inlaid marble floor, Paolo Uccello’s liturgical clock and the beautiful stained glass windows designed by Donatello;
- The Crypt below the Duomo is the archeological site of the first Cathedral of Florence and it also contains remains of Roman Florentia from 300-400 BC. Archeological digs from 1965 to 1973 brought to light the remains of Santa Reparata church, built around the 5th century AD, and now just over two and a half meters separate us from the ancient early Christian Basilica of Florence;
The climb up to the top of the Dome is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Florence. The Duomo dome climb with a skip-the-line ticket gives you a “behind the scenes” view of the revolutionary construction and engineering projected in the 1400’s by Filippo Brunelleschi, the genius behind the cupola. Hear the fascinating history behind the Dome and start the climb of its 463 steps (sorry, no elevator!). During the ascent admire the largest Christian frescoes in the world, made by Renaissance artists like Vasari and Zuccari on the two shells of the dome. Go up onto the 32 meter (104 ft) high terraces hanging below the 116 meter (380 ft) high dome and enjoy a 360-degrees view of Florence and the Tuscan hills stretched out below.
The Baptistery is the oldest building in the city and the place where several well known Florentines and Tuscans have been baptized throughout history (Dante Alighieri, Niccolò Machiavelli, Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici…). It’s also famous for its beautiful golden bronze doors (including the well known “Gate of Paradise”) and magnificent Medieval mosaics;
- discover the beauty of Giotto’s Belltower
- explore the Cathedral Museum (Museo Opera del Duomo), it’s the very place where Michelangelo sculpted his famous David and it houses Ghiberti’s original “Gate of Paradise”, Michelangelo’s “Pietà Bandini” and works by Donatello, Della Robbia and Pisano among others.
ADVANCED BOOKING IS NECESSARY TO AVOID LONG LINES FOR THE UFFIZI, THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY AND THE DUOMO DOME