Piazza del Duomo and the Baptistery
Piazza del Duomo, as well as being the hub of the historic center, has always been the religious heart of the city. Here are the most important religious buildings of Florence: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Bell Tower made by Giotto.
The Cathedral, dedicated to the Madonna with the title of Santa Maria del Fiore, was built above the ancient cathedral of Santa Reparata, which had become too small to accommodate the entire population of the city. This Renaissance masterpiece is the fourth largest church in the world, after Saint Peter in Rome, the Cathedral of St. Paul in London and the Cathedral of Milan. The basilica consists of three naves joined to a huge triconca apse, which supports the Brunelleschi’s Dome, the largest dome ever built entirely of masonry.
It is covered with white Carrara marble, green marble from Prato, red marble from Maremma, and the dome with terracotta tiles.
The Baptistery, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, is located in front of the Cathedral and is the oldest building in the square. It was the symbol of the Christian community and housed the baptisms of the Florentines. The building has a large size to accommodate the multitude of people who gathered on the two days of the year when the baptisms were celebrated.