The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

There are countless amazing landmarks that tourists in Tuscany need to check out during their holiday – one of which is the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

This magnificent church is the third largest in the world (only coming after St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s). It was the largest cathedral in the whole of Europe when it had been completed back in the 15th century. If you plan to visit Tuscany any time soon, be sure to put this on your list of must visit attractions.

The history of the cathedral

Originally, the designs for the building were created by Arnolfo di Cambio, although if you were to compare the plans for the church and the structure today, you’d see that they’re substantially different. Unfortunately, he only had the chance to design two bays and half of the new facade of the building before he died in 1310. The structure was left unfinished until work continued in 1331, when the Arte della Lana took over.

Even in 1348 (the year of the Black Death, which cut the city’s population in half), the construction of the building continued until it was eventually finished. With the position of master of the works being switched to different individuals over the years.

One of the most important operations of all was the construction of a new façade, which took from 1871 to 1884. It was designed by Emilio De Fabris and his assistants, and it was made to imitate the decorative Florentine style that can be seen on the bell tower and the cathedral’s side doors.

Over time, there were many obstacles and difficulties, leading to numerous different individuals working on the structure. Because of this, there are a variety of different styles in the building – and there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to see how it changed as different architects and artists took charge of the project. Most would agree that this only makes the Santa Maria del Fiore even more impressive.

Things to keep in mind before visiting

If you decide to take a trip to the cathedral during your stay in Tuscany, there are a few things that you may want to know, such as:

  • You’ll need to dress appropriately if you want to go inside the cathedral (it’s forbidden to enter with bare shoulders and legs, sandals, hats and sunglasses)
  • The south side of the cathedral inaccessible to visitors
  • It’s admission free and you enter through the right-hand door in the west front
  • Finding out opening and closing times is generally advised if you plan to go inside

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