Brunelleschi’s octagonal dome on top of Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (aka the Duomo) took 16 years to build and, at 144 feet (44 meters) wide, is one of the world’s largest masonry domes. You can admire the 16th-century Final Judgment frescoes by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari that decorate the inside of the dome and climb the 463 steps to the top for panoramic views from the lantern overlooking the historic center. The Opera del Duomo museum, just behind the church, holds a fascinating scale model of Brunelleschi’s dome as well as Lorenzo Ghiberti’s original bronze baptistry doors (replicas are on the baptistry outside).
The cathedral dome is one of the most popular attractions in the city, and booking a Florence Duomo tour that includes skip-the-line entrance to the Duomo, Giotto’s bell tower, and the baptistry is essential to avoid long lines to enter. Small-group and private tours of Florence’s Duomo may even include exclusive access to the north terrace, a panoramic rooftop terrace closed to the general public. Many Florence city walking tours also visit highlights like the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia), and Piazzale Michelangelo.