When visiting Florence, Italy, is it worth it to climb the Duomo? You are probably wondering this exact question when planning your trip to Florence. I know I was.
The Duomo in Florence, officially known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most well-known landmarks in Florence. It is a must-visit attraction, but is it worth it to spend the extra money and conquer the 463 steps to climb to the top of the Duomo?
In this guide, you will discover the pros and cons of climbing the Duomo, how to buy tickets, the best tours of the Duomo, and other helpful tips to prepare you for your climb.
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Is It Worth It to Climb the Duomo
As someone who did climb the Duomo, I can give my honest opinion and say yes, it is worth it to climb the Duomo! Climbing to the top of the Duomo and admiring the panoramic views of the red rooftops of Florence, the Arno River, and the surrounding Tuscan hills are a unique and unforgettable experience.
The climb also allows you to appreciate the intricate and impressive details of the cathedral’s architecture and the interior of the Dome up close.
Climbing the Duomo was one of my favorite things we did in Florence and I think it is an experience you should not miss.
Why it is Not Worth it to Climb the Duomo
While the view from the top of the Duomo in Florence may be breathtaking, there may be several reasons why you would not want to climb to the top.
It Can Be a Difficult Climb
There is no elevator at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore so you will have to climb up the 463 steps on your own. It can be strenuous and challenging, especially for those who are not in the best physical condition.
For example, I wouldn’t recommend climbing the Duomo for someone who has knee issues. Or any other health conditions that would flare up with strenuous exercise.
The staircases gradually get steeper, windier, and more narrow the closer you get to the top of the dome. You know your body the best, if you have issues climbing a flight of stairs, this is not the tour for you.
If You are Claustrophobic or Afraid of Heights
Another reason it is not worth it to climb the Duomo is if you are someone who feels claustrophobic easily or you are afraid of heights.
The narrow and steep staircases could make you feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. The staircase is not wide enough for two people to pass one another so the climb can be crowded and slow. Also, at the top of the Duomo, it tends to be a little crowded.
I hate to admit it, but I am a little bit afraid of heights. I didn’t have any issues climbing the steep steps, but once at the top and you look down and realize how high up you are, my palms definitely started to sweat.
It’s a gorgeous view overlooking the city. However, if you are afraid of heights, you may not enjoy the view as much as you would like.
Climbing the Duomo in the Summer
If you are traveling in the summer, make sure to book your tickets to climb the Duomo in the morning or late afternoon. Summer is Italy’s peak season for tourism, so there will be crowds and a lot of people climbing the Duomo at the same time as you.
Climbing the staircases can get very hot during the summer months and there is no air conditioning and very little ventilation. You should book your reservation well in advance to get the time slot that you want.
Tips for Climbing the Duomo in Florence
Before you take on climbing the steps of the Duomo in Florence, there are a couple of helpful tips that I learned from our experience that I would like to share with you.
How to Book Your Tickets
The first thing you need to do to prepare for climbing the Duomo is to book your tickets. You can purchase tickets on the main website. They offer tickets at least 7 months in advance. You will want to book your tickets as soon as possible because they do sell out.
Booking Your Tickets Through the Official Website
To climb the Duomo you would need to purchase the Brunelleschi Pass and select an available time and date for your visit.
They are very strict on the start time so not too many people are visiting the Duomo at once and allowing for the best experience. So make sure you arrive to your reservation on time. Once you are let into the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, you can stay as long as you like.
⭐ Tip: There is one flaw to purchasing the tickets from the official website and that is they do not offer skip the line tickets.
Should You Book Skip-the-Line Tickets
Visiting the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is one of the most popular attractions in Florence. When we were there, there were multiple long lines wrapped around the exterior of the Duomo. I was very happy that we booked skip the line tickets.
Skip the line tickets are an extra cost, but to me, it is worth it. Especially when you only have a couple of days to see Florence, you don’t want to waste precious time waiting in lines. I typically always book skip the line tickets when traveling, and I have never once regretted it.
Top Tours for Climbing the Duomo
To climb the Duomo, you can either book the Brunelleschi Pass with the official website or book a tour with one of the many reputable tour companies.
The difference between the tours is that the tour companies are typically a little more expensive, but offer a lot more options. You can do a combo tour with another top Florence attraction or have a small and intimate tour with a local tour guide.
⭐ Tip: If tickets are sold out on the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore main site, check availability with some of the tours with the tour companies. They sometimes will still have extra tickets available.
The Brunelleschi Pass includes access to all monuments of Piazza del Duomo, including climbing the Duomo. When purchasing your tickets, you must select a date and time to visit the Dome. The other monuments included in the pass can be visited within three calendar days from the date chosen.
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Book a small and intimate tour to visit the Cathedral, Dome, and Baptistery in Florence. With your skip the line ticket you can follow your personal guide through the cathedral for an exclusive close-up view of the dome and explore passages closed to the public.
You will also get the opportunity to climb the Duomo for panoramic views of Florence from the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome.
“A great experience, our tour guide was knowledgeable and passionate talking about the history both of the church and of Florence in general. Amazing views throughout. Would recommend to anyone visiting Florence” – Michael L. (read more reviews).
⭐ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | BOOK NOW
If you are looking to check off two of Florence’s must see attractions on your bucket list in one day, this combo tour is a great option for you.
In your small group tour you will visit one of the most famous and celebrated works of art produced during the Renaissance, Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia Gallery.
Afterward, enjoy the epic climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s famous Duomo for panoramic views of Florence.
Both tickets are skip the line, so there will be no time wasted waiting in long lines.
“Great tour! Sylvia was very informative and knowledgeable. Great way to see david and the academia. Also, great way to learn about Florence and the basilica Santa Maria Fiore” – Yaremi M. (Read more reviews).
✅ Book the Tour of Accademia, Duomo Climb and Cathedral here
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This tour is the perfect option if you are only looking to see the Santa Maria del Fiore and do the Dome Climb on your own without a guided tour.
The Santa Maria del Fiore Tickets with Dome Climb tour allows you to skip the line at the entrance and climb Brunelleschi’s Dome on your selected date and time.
You will also get a three day pass to explore the rest of the Dome Complex at your own pace. This pass includes the Bell Tower, Museum of the Duomo, and Santa Reparata Crypt.
✅ Book the Santa Maria del Fiore Tickets with Dome Climb here
Duomo Florence Opening Hours
The Dome by Brunelleschi is open from 08:15 to 19:30. However, opening and closing hours can change on different days of the year.
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is not open on Sundays. Also, there will not be tours on the following days in 2023: April 6th, 7th, 8th 9th, June 24th, August 15th, November 1st, and December 8th, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 31st.
⭐ Tip: If you are planning on seeing any of the other monuments (Cathedral, Baptistry, Giotto’s Bell Tower, & Dome), they all have different opening and closing hours. To get the times of each monument you visit the official site.
The Best Time to Climb the Duomo in Florence
The best time to climb the Duomo in Florence is either early in the morning, or late in the day near sunset when the crowds have thinned out. Also, try to avoid booking your tickets during peak times, such as weekends and holidays, when the cathedral can get quite busy.
If you plan to visit during the summer months, try to steer clear from climbing during the hottest times of the day. The staircases can get quite hot and stuffy.
How Hard is it to Climb the Duomo in Florence
Climbing the Duomo in Florence can be challenging, especially if you are not used to climbing stairs or have any physical limitations. The climb involves 463 steps, some of which are narrow and steep. Additionally, the steps are uneven and winding, making it a bit difficult to climb.
However, that being said, the climb is not impossible. Most people who are reasonably fit can make it to the top pretty easily. Don’t be afraid to take your time and rest when needed.
The most difficult part of the climb is at the end. The last few steps are very steep, and the staircase is narrow, but at that point, you are almost there don’t give up!
How Many Steps to Climb the Duomo in Florence
Before signing up to see the top of the famous Cathedral, you may be wondering how many steps to climb the Duomo in Florence. To reach the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome, you will need to climb 463 steps.
As you get closer to the top the stairs become winding and get more narrow. There are some breaks you can take along the climb.
How Long Does it Take to Climb Duomo in Florence
I would budget about 45 minutes to an hour to climb the Duomo in Florence. However, it depends on what time of day you are visiting, what time of year, and if you are a fast climber.
My husband and I visited the Duomo in the morning and completed the climb to the top in 20 minutes. There weren’t too many people ahead of us and we didn’t make many stops on the way up, so it is possible to do it in less time.
Should I Climb Duomo or Bell Tower
If you are deciding between climbing the Duomo or Bell Tower, I suggest first climbing the Duomo.
The Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, is one of the most iconic symbols of Florence and features a large famous dome that dominates the skyline. Also, on the Duomo climb you get to see the intricate details inside the dome.
However, if you have time, you may want to consider climbing the Duomo and Bell Tower. Both landmarks offer stunning views of the city and offer unique and different experiences.
Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower, offers a slightly shorter climb of 414 steps, it’s less crowded, the passageways are slightly wider, and the views are equally impressive. From the top, you’ll have a clear view of the Duomo and the surrounding city, including the Arno River and the Tuscan hills.
Is There a Dress Code to Climb the Duomo
On the official Duomo website, it states that the dress code is clothing suitable for a place of worship, which means you need to cover your knees and no bare shoulders, sandals, hats, or sunglasses inside the Cathedral.
In the summer, I recommend that women wear a flowy long skirt and bring along a light sweater to wear over the shoulders if they have a tank top on. For men, shorts need to be below the knee, and you should be fine.
You can wear jeans in the Duomo, I wore a sweater, jeans, and comfortable sneakers and that was acceptable.
How Much Does it Cost to Climb the Duomo in Florence
The entrance to the Cathedral itself is free. However, you will need to purchase a ticket and select a time to visit to climb the Duomo.
The cost to climb the Duomo in Florence varies and depends on a couple of different factors such as what tour you decide to do, skip-the-line tickets, and the age of the visitors.
General admission ticket from the official website, which includes access to the entire cathedral complex, including the dome climb is:
- Adults: €30
- Kids aged between 7 and 14: €12
- Kids aged 6 or below: free
Check the official website for the most up-to-date information on ticket prices and availability.
Is it Worth Going to the Top of the Duomo
It is worth going to the top of the Duomo for the stunning 360-degree views of the city, including famous landmarks such as the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio. And it is a great way to appreciate the beauty of Florence from a unique perspective.
However, if you’re not comfortable with heights, suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia, or simply don’t want to climb the stairs, the climb may not be worth it for you.
There are still plenty of ways to appreciate the beauty of the Duomo and Florence from the ground, such as admiring the stunning exterior of the cathedral or exploring the surrounding piazza.
Important Tips for Climbing the Duomo in Florence
Here are some tips to help you prepare and make the most of your climb:
- Book your tickets in advance: Tickets do sell out, so you will want to book your tickets to climb the Duomo as soon as possible.
- Wear comfortable shoes: The climb involves 463 steps, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes.
- Dress appropriately: Remember that the Duomo is a sacred place, so it’s important to dress modestly. Also, keep in mind that it can get hot and stuffy inside, so wear light and breathable clothing.
- Bring water: Climbing the Duomo can be tiring, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you and take frequent breaks to drink water.
- Take your time: Climbing the Duomo is not a race. Take your time and enjoy the stunning views along the way. Some of the steps are narrow and steep, so be careful when climbing up or down.
- Be respectful: Remember that the Duomo is a religious site and should be treated with respect. Avoid making noise, touching the artwork, or taking flash photography.
- Enjoy the view: Once you reach the top, take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking views of Florence. It’s a memory you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
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In Conclusion: Is It Worth It to Climb the Duomo
Yes, it is worth it to climb the Duomo! The climb may be challenging, but also a rewarding experience that offers unforgettable views of the city of Florence.