This building complex in a large piazza is in the heart of old Florence. It comprises a superb collection of architectural treasures dating back to the 13th century.
It is best known for Ghiberti's two gilded bronze doors. Both are sculptural masterpieces. However, the ones on the door are replicas. The originals (like some artworks from the cathedral) were moved to the nearby Museum Opera del Duomo for conservation's sake. It's open to the public.
The Duomo is one of the world's largest cathedrals and was begun in 1296. Today, it (and particularly its dome) is the heartfelt symbol of Florence.
Brunelleschi's magnificent dome is nearly 600 years old and is almost as high as a modern 30-story building. It's open to the public. Both the climb (464 steep steps) and view (of the Piazza and Florence) are breathtaking.
The Duomo is relatively plain inside, strikingly ornate outside. I relish most the exterior design, but consider the front facade (which wasn't finished until the 19th century) to be overwrought and not in keeping with the artistic merits of the other Piazza del Duomo elements.
Giotto's stand-alone Campanile dates back to the 1300s and soars 85 meters (280 feet). You can climb its 414 steps to reach the top, which affords a dramatic eye-level view of the nearby Duomo's dome.
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