The Duomo in Florence is one of the most beautiful church buildings I’ve ever seen. As soon as I laid eyes on it for the first time, I decided it was my favourite Italian cathedral (Wait…. favourite Italian cathedral outside of Rome. I haven’t really thought this out very well.) It’s very difficult to take photos of because it’s very big and in a cramped spot in the middle of the city but I tried my best (some of the photos have been taken on different days, in different lights, just so you know).
I think anyone would agree, it’s simply breathtaking. As my friends and I walked towards the Piazza del Duomo and I knew we only had one corner to turn I said to them, “If we turn this corner and I suddenly start crying, you’re not allowed to laugh, ok?” I’m glad I said that because by the time we turned the corner, I was too busy feigning taking offence at being ridiculed by them to be emotional.
But, I have to say, the exterior of the church is the best part. The interior is a little…. disappointing. It’s very stark in comparison to other Italian cathedrals I’ve been in. Half of it was roped off and I suspect it was the most interesting half. We were granted access to the nave only. The nave is almost bare of decoration, bar a couple of paintings, tombs and memorials. The most important of which was a small-ish (in comparison to the size of the cathedral) painting of Dante explaining The Divine Comedy by Domenico di Michelino.
After about half an hour or so, my friend and I had pretty much looked at everything. We both confessed to being a little disappointed. Later, when we caught up with our other pal, she told us she’d been refused entry to the cathedral given that she was wearing a dress with a low-cut back (perfectly respectable dress with sleeves, high-ish neckline but the back was square cut across the shoulders.) She asked us if she’d missed out on anything spectacular. Not really, no.
My advice on Florence Cathedral? Enjoy it from the outside, that’s where its at its best.