This square is overlooked by the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral), Battistero di San Giovanni (The Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista) and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Both the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum) and Loggia del Bigallo are also located here.
What’s in this guide?
Getting to Piazza del Duomo
When using public transport to get around Florence’s city centre, we’d stick to the bus. While the tram lines don’t get very close to the historic district, buses will get you much closer to the top landmarks in the heart of the city.
So, if you’re planning to get to Piazza del Duomo, look out for the following nearby bus stops:
- Santa Maria Nuova
- Picci Duomo
- Santa Maria Maggiore
If you’ll be using buses during your stay, it’s essential to buy your tickets in advance to avoid facing a fine. Head to an official ticket office or an authorised retailer with the Autolinee Toscane sticker. You can choose an ordinary ticket, which you can only use once in a 90-minute time window, or opt for multiple-ride tickets, including four 90-minute journeys in one.
What to see at Piazza del Duomo
Stand in the middle of the Piazza del Duomo cathedral square, and you’re surrounded by Florentine history.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture and dominates the city’s skyline.
Also called the Duomo di Firenze (The Cathedral of Florence), this impressive building took over 100 years to finish. The cathedral was initially designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 13th century and included plans for a grand dome.
Unfortunately, the limited construction processes meant it wasn’t possible to build the much-desired dome. But construction began despite this, with numerous architects involved throughout the years, including Giotto di Bonde and Andrea Pisano. By the 15th century, it was Filippo Brunelleschi’s turn to manage construction. He was able to bring the dome to life.
Once the largest cathedral in the world, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is now in fourth place, after the Vatican in Rome, St.Paul’s in London and Duomo di Milan (Milan’s Cathedral). Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is now home to important works of art, including frescoes of the Last Judgement by Giorgio Vasari, the most significant piece of art in the entire building.
A highlight of the cathedral is Brunelleschi’s dome. The biggest of its kind at the time, the dome was constructed without scaffolding, which was no mean feat back then! Once you climb the 463 steps to the top, you reach a narrow balcony terrace, a great vantage point with superb city views.
Admission to the cathedral is free but be mindful that you’ll need to buy tickets to visit the dome.
Giotto’s Bell Tower
Next to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is another excellent viewpoint. Measuring an impressive 85 metres, Giotto’s Bell Tower is packed full of intricate Gothic detail that will dazzle you on your way up to the roof.
The tower was designed by Giotto di Bondone. Although he was in charge of the build of the whole cathedral at the time, he dedicated his efforts to this feature. When Giotto sadly died before finishing the job, Andrea Pisano took the reins for two levels, followed by Francesco Talenti, who completed the tower in 1359.
Be sure to admire the reliefs, as there are 56 in total. You’ll also find 16 life-size statues hidden in the wall recesses. These were made by famous Florentine artists, including Andrea Pisano, Donatello and Luca Della Robbia.
Battistero di San Giovanni
One of Florence’s oldest places of worship, Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of San Giovanni), brings together Romanesque and early Christian architecture.
Built between 1059 and 1128, the architect of the baptistery is unclear. Still, many have been linked with the build, including Andrea Pisano, Giorro Giovan Rustici, Donatello and Michelozzo. One of the oldest buildings in the city, it was rumoured during medieval times that it was once a Roman temple dedicated to Mars.
Much of the original artwork has been moved to the nearby Opera del Duomo Museum (Cathedral Museum) to protect it from wear and tear. But the baptistery still houses one of the most extensive mosaics in Western art, with contributing artists including Jacopo da Torrita, Gaddo Gaddi, Cimabue and Andrea di Riccio.
We’d also recommend keeping an eye out for the depiction of Christ and The Last Judgement by Coppo di Marcovaldo and Cimabue.
Restaurants, bars and shops at Piazza del Duomo
It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for some lunch to keep you going, dinner to end the day or shops to pack in some retail therapy. Find it all at Piazza del Duomo.
It may be a tourist hotspot, but there are still some great places near Piazza del Duomo to grab a meal. To save you time, we’ve shortlisted our top restaurants that are all within walking distance.
Trattoria Sergio Gozzi: A great place to grab lunch after visiting Piazza del Duomo, Trattoria Sergio Gozzi is only a 5-minute walk away. Taste a traditional menu that prides itself on using only the freshest local ingredients. This is homely cooking at its best, in a rustic setting that will make you feel like a local.
Mercato Centrale: If you want to try a bit of everything, Mercato Centrale (The Central Market) is the place for you. You can test the region’s best in this food market, with artisans offering pasta, wine, desserts, pizzas and more. Walk here from Piazza del Duomo, and it’ll take you less than 10 minutes.
Ino: Those on the hunt for the best authentic Florentine sandwich can find it at Ino. A 10-minute stroll from Piazza del Duomo, Ino specialises in beautifully made paninis. The menu is vast and includes every filling you could imagine; standouts include the creamy gorgonzola and cured prosciutto with pickled artichokes.
There’s nothing like a refreshing drink after a long day’s sightseeing. Piazza del Duomo cathedral square has plenty to offer.
Sabor Cubano: Rated one of the best nightlife spots in the city, Sabor Cubano is just a 5-minute walk from Piazza del Duomo. Celebrating all things Cuban, expect superb cocktails, fantastic music and a friendly atmosphere. Rather than sticking to the familiar classics, we’d recommend one of their more unusual cocktails, such as the Canchanchara or Frucanga.
Procacci: This is just a stone’s throw away from Piazza del Duomo, is ideal for those who fancy a tipple between sightseeing. Found on the upmarket via Tornabuoni, favourites include the Antinori house prosecco and Franciacorta fizz.
Rex Café: If you’re after more than just a quiet drink, make your way to Rex Café, a 10-minute walk from the Piazza. A bustling bar that boats an artsy vibe, this laidback spot even hosts local DJs on weekends; it’s the place to be for a lively night out in Florence.
Bitter Bar: 10 minutes from Piazza del Duomo lies a bar that may be unfamiliar to tourists but is a firm favourite with locals. Bitter Bar is where you can push the boat out with your drinks. Rather than ordering from the menu, we’d recommend putting your trust in experienced bartenders who can select the best cocktail for you.
We know Italians do fashion right, so expect nothing less in Florence. If you want to do some Piazza del Duomo shopping, there are plenty of streets to roam, whether you’re on the hunt for gifts or even a little treat for yourself.
Via dei Calzaiuoli: Once you’re all done visiting Piazza del Duomo, walk down via dei Calzaiuoli for a spot of shopping before continuing to Piazza delle Signoria. This 400-metre long shopper’s haven is packed to the brim with shops, and you can also admire the historic Orsanmichele church.
Via della Vigna Nuova: A 10-minute walk towards the river Arno lies via della Vigna Nuova. One of those pretty streets where you could stroll through and do some window shopping or go all out and splurge on a designer piece; either way, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon.
Via de’ Tornabuoni: Less than 10 minutes from Piazza del Duomo, via de’ Tornabuoni is the best place in the city to browse your favourite luxury brands. Not just the home of the likes of Gucci and Prada, via de’ Tornabuoni is steeped in history, with many buildings featuring beautifully intricate façades.
Opening times and ticket prices
Visiting the square couldn’t be easier. Although the surrounding landmarks have opening times and may require tickets, Piazza del Duomo is open all day, every day. Plus, there is no Piazza del Duomo entrance fee – money saved for Florentine treats!
Travelling by train to Florence?
If you're thinking of taking a trip to Florence, why not travel by train? Getting the train to Florence is easy due to the high-speed rail connections operated by Trenitalia and Italo. You can travel to Florence from some of the most popular cities in Italy, including Bologna to Florence (37m), Rome to Florence (1h 17m) and Venice to Florence (1h 59m).
Need more information about travelling to Florence by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to Florence.