Florence Italy – The Cathedral and Baptistery

On November 18, 2011

We left Sicily and spent the next day cruising along the Italian coast, heading for the Tuscany area.  We will dock at the port of Livorno and take a motor coach into Florence – about 90 minutes from the ship.

The next several posts will include images of the Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of “St. Mary of the Flower”  and St. John,s Baptistery. The second post will be of Piazza della Signoia where we see the City Hall or Palazzo Vecchio and the open-air museum and a copy of Michelangelo’s David.  Then we head over to Piazza de Santa Croce to see the Franciscan Basilica.  My final post will be of the Old Bridge Ponte Vechhio and other sites around Florence.

Today – The Cathedral and Baptistery

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the cathedral church of Florence, Italy. The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.   The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.


The Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John) is a religious building in Florence (Tuscany), Italy, which has the status of a minor basilica.   The octagonal Baptistry stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza di San Giovanni, across from the Duomo cathedral and the Giotto bell tower (Campanile di Giotto). It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128. The architecture is in Florentine Romanesque style.   The Baptistry is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were done by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti.  The east pair of doors were dubbed by Michelangelo “the Gates of Paradise”.   The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistry. In fact, until the end of the nineteenth century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here.