Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore
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Florence's Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
Approaching Florence, you see the massive red-tiled dome of the main church from miles away. This is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, usually called the Duomo, a striking cathedral that was begun in 1296 but not completed until 1436.

Filippo Brunelleschi was the celebrated architect who engineered the dome atop the basilica that was completed in 1436.

The exterior is faced with marble in shades of green and pink with white trim. The interior is rather plain except for the distinct mosaic pavements.

The Duomo, Baptistry, and Campanile are all part of the UNESCO World Heritage site that covers the entire historic center of Florence.

Thousands of tourists visit Tuscany and stop in Florence.

When I arrived at the basilica, my husband and I saw the long line and thought it was for the climb up to the Dome. We were tired and decided to try that jaunt another day so we got in the entrance to the church line. But we had the lines reversed...we were now on our way up the narrow staircase to the top! We couldn't turn back and no elevator, just 463 steps! The staircase nearly did me in. As they say in the guidebooks - NOT for the faint-hearted. I'll say.

But, once there, what a sight, especially the frescoes of the Last Judgement. Continue up and you have views of Florence and Tuscany. The entire Basilica was definitely worth it. Very historic.

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Overview of Florence from the Duomo Tower
What can be more romantic than watching the breathtaking views of Florence from the Duomo Tower?
You might need to climb more than 100 steep stairs but the view really worth it.
The cathedral is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most touristic Cathedral in Italy.
The neo gothic facade of the cathedral is a stunning view for itself, but the view from atop makes all the difference
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