In 1439, to strengthen the stability of the Cathedral dome, Brunelleschi conceived the so-called "Tribune Morte" at the base of the drum, which are masterpieces of Renaissance architecture. The way to the Terraces of Santa Maria del Fiore begins right inside the Dead North Tribune.
The Cathedral Terraces are located at the height of the rooftops of the side aisles (about 32 meters). They consist of a continuous balcony on corbels decorated with a perforated marble balustrade, which looks very similar to that of the Bell Tower on the upper level. Along the North and South Terraces, currently practicable and about 70m long each, it is possible to have a close-up view of the rose windows marble coating and the main nave cladding. Here is also quite remarkable the presence of putlog holes and the brick roofs of the side aisles under which some hidden rooms of the Cathedral remain.
Some curious illustrious guests may have passed through the Terraces over time, but their main function was as a path to be used by the workers involved in the maintenance of the Cathedral, as it still happens today; it is only since 1985 that the Terraces have been open to the public.
Since the old times some terracota basins have always been displayed along the path to collect the rainwater, which is useful for the conservation and restoration works carried out on site as well as to prevent the tiles deterioration.
By visiting the Terraces of the Cathedral, the visitor will enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the North and South areas of the city center and its nearby hills while having access to places from which the visitor will be able to contemplate in detail the recently restored marble surfaces. Moreover, the visitor will pass near the large nineteenth-century rose window of the main facade and enjoy a close-up view of the lantern of the Baptistery, Brunelleschi's Dome, and Giotto's Bell Tower. During the passage between the North and South Terrace, the visitor will have the chance to enjoy the interior of the Cathedral from a height of around 30 meters while he contemplates the breathtaking view of some architectural elements and the splendid marble floor. The visit will finish within the Dead South Tribune, where a wooden scaffolding and some tools from the Brunelleschi construction workshop are displayed.
The Terraces can only be accessed on a contingent basis with one of our companions or guides, following the restricted rhythms of the slot and not independently. No lift is available and there are many steps. The climb is not recommended for people with a heart condition or suffering from dizziness and claustrophobia. Bulky backpacks and bags are not allowed. No cloakroom available. It is possible to reserve free admission for the person with difficulties, by writing to the email email@example.com or by contacting the cash desk in Piazza Duomo 14, subject to availability, against a certification document. Any gratuity for the companion is subject to further considerations. For privacy reasons, the email conversation will be deleted. For any paying people to match, we kindly ask you to make the purchase online.