29 August 2014

Cavorting with the Companion: Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

After spending three nights in Bologna, it was time to move on. So we took the train from Bologna and rode it all the way to Florence. Florence would be our next base, spending a total of five nights here while exploring the city and its surroundings. And the first thing we explored was the main cathedral of the city, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Let's talk about the exterior. It's perhaps one of the most visually interesting exteriors of churches I have seen. It consists of marble panels in various different colors, and is in the Gothic style. It was begun in 1296 and completed almost 200 years later.

This church has several places one can explore. Our ticket allowed us to explore multiple places, of which we did selectively.

The interior is not the most impressive: in my opinion, the interior of the Saint John's Co-Cathedral in Malta is more impressive. But I suppose churches cannot have it all. In my opinion, the best asset of this church is its exterior, as well as the views that one can see from the top of the Duomo.

I said that the interior wasn't the most impressive. That is true, but I think the catacombs is one exception. I really like it when structures preserve as much as they can the old historical aspects of the location, and that was also done here. The church was built on top of these ancient remains, which can easily be seen by descending down a set of stairs.

But the best thing I think this church has to offer is the view: we climbed to the top of that dome, and it was simply surreal. We sat there for a long time, ignoring the hordes of tourists that walk around and around pointing cameras and shooting pictures, it was just a very Florentine experience to be on top of that dome and enjoy the scenery as well as the company. It was quite a very memorable experience.

So yes, if you are in Florence, this is something definitely recommended. Try and climb the dome, and if you still have energy, try and climb the tower too.


  1. The view is awesome! What a great set. Italian cities feel so warm and colourful.

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, this view was definitely a highlight of our trip!