Italy has many majestic cathedrals, often with spectacular works of art inside. A cathedral is a city’s main church and is usually called the Duomo in Italy but also can be named basilica, cattedrale or chiesa madre (mainly in the south). While most cathedrals do not charge admission there are a few that do and others have a place for donations. Here is a list of some of the most famous Italian cathedrals.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Florence’s Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore, usually referred to as il duomo, is probably Italy’s most famous cathedral. Brunelleschi’s Dome was a masterpiece of construction and its interior is covered in frescoes. You can climb to the top of the Dome for good views. The cathedral’s exterior is made of pink, white, and green marble with 44 magnificent stained glass windows. Duomo admission is free but there are charges for visiting the crypt and dome.
Location: Via della Canonica, 1 / Piazza del Duomo,50122, Florence
Nearby sights: Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza del Duomo, Uffizi Gallery
Tel.: +39 055 2302885
Nearby hotels: Corte dei Medici, Hotel de La Ville, La Residenza del Proconsolo
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)
Taking almost 600 years to complete, Milan’s cathedral is Italy’s largest Gothic cathedral and one of Europe’s largest churches. There is an amazing rooftop where you’ll see not only great views of the city but get a close look at some of the 135 spires and 3200 statues that adorn the cathedral. The cathedral also has beautiful stained glass windows, several impressive sarcophagi, and two large organs. Admission is free but there is a charge for the rooftop and archaeological area.
Location: Piazza del Duomo, Milan
Nearby sights: L’Ultima Cena, Castello Sforzesco, Piazza del Duomo
Tel.: +39 02 7202 2656
Nearby hotels: Ariston Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Milano, Uptown Palace
Basilica San Marco
Basilica San Marco, Venice’s cathedral, is a mixture of Byzantine and western styles. Named after Venice’s patron saint, Saint Mark, the cathedral’s stunning mosaic-covered domes are a focal point of Saint Mark’s Square. Byzantine mosaics, mostly from the 11th – 13th centuries, and paintings by top Venetian artists adorn the interior. Admission is free.
Location: San Marco 328, 30124 Venice
Nearby sights: Grand Canal, Doges’ Palace, St. Mark’s Square
Tel.: 39-041- 5225205
Nearby hotels: Aqua Palace Hotel, Hotel Concordia, Hotel San Salvador
Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena)
The 13th century duomo of Siena is one of Italy’s top Gothic cathedrals. Its black and white facade is decorated with intricate carvings and statues while inside are many art works including beautiful frescoes and floor mosaics. Artists whose works you’ll see include Michelangelo, Pisano, Donatello and Pinturicchio. Most spectacular are the stunning marble floor mosaics dating from the 14th – 16th centuries but they are only displayed for a couple months each year, usually around September. There is an admission charge for the duomo.
Location: Piazza del Duomo, 8, 53100, Siena
Nearby sights: Piazza del Campo, Biblioteca Piccolomini, Torre del Mangia
Tel.: 0577 286300
Nearby hotels: B&B Palazzo del Magnifico, B&B La Sapienza Siena, Casacenti
While people associate Pisa with the leaning tower, all the Romanesque monuments on the Field of Miracles are spectacular and make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The white duomo dates from 1063 with a facade built in the 12th century. Inside are a great marble pulpit and several important art works.
Location: Piazza del Duomo, 56100, Pisa
Nearby sights: Piazza dei Miracoli, Torre di Pisa, Battistero
Official website: http://www.opapisa.it/visita/cattedrale/
Nearby hotels: Hotel Francesco, Grand Hotel Duomo, Hotel Villa Kinzica
Tel.: +39 050 835011/12