Dome

Consisting of two interconnected ogival shells, the cathedral's octagonal dome was erected between 1418 and 1434 to a design which Filippo Brunelleschi entered in a competition in 1418 but which was only accepted, after much controversy, in 1420.

A masterpiece capable of withstanding lightning, earthquakes and the passage of time, it continues to enchant all those who observe it from afar. The dome has a diameter of 45.5 metres, the equivalent of the baptistry in its entirety.

The competition that the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore ran in 1418 was won by Brunelleschi, but work did not get under way until two years later and was not completed until 1434.

The cathedral of Florence was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV on 25 March 1436.

Brunelleschi's astonishingly innovative approach involved vaulting the dome space without any scaffolding by using a double shell with a space in between. The inner shell (with a thickness of more than two metres) is made of light bricks set in a herringbone pattern and is the self-supporting structural element while the outer dome simply serves as a heavier, wind-resistant covering. The dome is crowned by a lantern with a conical roof, designed by Brunelleschi but only built after his death in 1446, while the gilt copper sphere and cross on top of the lantern, containing holy relics, was designed by Andrea del Verrocchio and installed in 1466.

The inner shell of the dome was frescoed by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari from 1572 to 1579, the subject matter chosen, namely the Last Judgement, reflecting the iconography adopted in the baptistry. The frescoes on the inner shell of the dome were the object of a thorough restoration between 1978 and 1994.

Information
  • Entry via the Porta della Mandorla (north side of the cathedral)
  • Visitors are required to climb 463 steps
  • No lifts (elevators) are available
  • The climb is not recommended for people suffering from heart problems, vertigo or claustrophobia
Opening times

The times of access to the monuments are subject to changes in time due to extraordinary events. The museum will be closed on the first Tuesday of each month.


The climb to the Dome may be restricted in time due to the excessive tourist flow.

Entry point
Ticket online
Access with a single ticket to all monuments
Home ticket d7c7bae5d9412fd061480c65b390a22c3b49f10275b6e999aa3f0dcd612bee21

The ticket allows the holder to visit all the monuments within 48 hours of visiting the first one. Each monument may be visited only once with the ticket.
You can book the climb on the Dome, on the Bell Tower and the Museum.

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