The Baptistery is the oldest religious monument in Florence. It is located in Piazza del Duomo. This octagonal building is truly beautiful inside and out. The architecture is lovely outside. The famed doors are incredible and the interior is absolutely stunning.
Take a couple of minutes and pick up the brochure so you get a better understanding of the unique stories the art depicts and the history of the beautiful doors. Ghiberti's bronze doors (a replica), dubbed "The Gates of Paradise" by Michelangelo are not to be missed. The scenes on the doors are magnificent you will appreciate the craftsmanship. Each panel of the door tells a story from the bible. There's usually a big crowd in front of the doors, so you might have to struggle to see them. However, the original doors are housed in the Duomo Museum so you can go there and really take in the beauty of the famous doors. High above the doors are statues of the Baptism of Christ by Andrea Sansovino and an Angel by Innocenzo Spinazzi.
The domed ceiling is a golden treasure trove of drawings. I would have loved to have lay on my back to stare at the characters that unfolded atop. It shows all of the famous stories of the bible. It begins with Adam and Eve and continues through to Revelation. The longer you sit and take in the amazing art, the more detail you notice. It’s so captivating. In the center is Christ with outstretched arms. His one palm is up for those going to heaven. And his other palm is facing down for those entering the inferno. It is easy to see the connections between Dante's Inferno and the scenes of hell within. This giant mosaic is a must see when visiting Florence. The richness of color and the depth of meaning is very inspirational, I found it so overwhelming.
Above the altar is a choir of beautiful angels. Before leaving don't forget to see the stunning carved Roman sarcophagus. The interior of the Baptistery is a testament to Florence being at a crossroads of the Middle Ages with diverse styles and cultures.
The Baptistery is small compared other Churches and to the neighboring Duomo but it’s a must see.