One morning, as we were out browsing and looking for an open market we had read about, we inadverdently walked into the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). It was without a doubt the most impressive sight we’d seen to date.

Left to right: St. John’s Baptistry, the Cathedral with its famous dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower

The Piazza consists of three historical buildings and a museum: the Basilica Sante Maria del Fiore, the largest building in medieval Europe; the Baptistry of St. John, built between 1059 and 1128; Giotto’s Bell Tower, opened in 1359; and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, a modern building that houses original works of Renaissance art. Each hs the most strikingly beautiful exteriors we have ever seen—decorative mixes of pink, white and green marble that that give off different hues with every change of ambient light.

We did not get to visit the cathedral as the general line was hours long and the “skip the line by appointment” was completely booked during our stay–hopefully we will return and then go inside. We did get to visit the Baptistry, though, and were awed by its awesome dome.

The Museo is behind the Cathedral, along a delightful courtyard.

Back of cathedral, featuring major and minor domes

Entrance to the Museo is just to right of this picture

In addition to the almost-not-to-be-believed architecture in the piazza, there were the usual number of souvenir stands and eating establishments. Most have outdoor seating, some have cool interior seating–we chose the latter and thoroughly enjoyed people watching as we relished gelato on one occasion and a light meal on another.

While the Piazza del Duomo was a highlight of our time in Florence, we also took a bus tour that brought us outside the city, and a Chianti Tuscany wine trail trip that expanded our sense of the city.

Next: On-and-Off Bus Tour of Florence’s surrounds.



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