The Gates of Paradise at Florence Baptistry are closed to the public, but, perhaps, open to the men of God. Sadly, I’m not one of the righteous ones. The baptistry is an octagonal monument with three doors with lavish ornaments of religious themes. These doors are perfect examples of the Florentine Renaissance.
The East Door. This is the most famous of the three doors. Here, you’ll find that Lorenzo Ghiberti, the sculptor, skillfully mastered the scenes from the Old Testament. Each panel depicts compelling gold statues you’d never see anywhere. Michelangelo was so impressed when he saw the door that he complimented and called it as the “Gates of Paradise.”
The North Door. This is another portal by Ghiberti. It shows The Scenes, Life, and the Passion of Christ.
The South Door. This is the oldest door of the baptistry by Andrea Pisano. It has 28 panels detailing the life of St. John the Baptist.
Museum Opera del Duomo. If you want to see the original doors above, visit this museum.
How to Get Inside the Baptistry
Since all three doors are closed, the only way to go inside the Baptistry is by going inside the Duomo. Then, find the stairs that lead you down to the ticket booth. Be aware that there’s a limit on the number of people allowed to get inside. The TV screen shows the timetable that’s not full yet. On the day I was there, the guy behind the counter told me that the earliest ticket he could sell me was for the next morning. So, skipped it and, instead, I climbed the Torre de Arnolfo to see the wonderful Florence skyline.
The Gates of Paradise at Florence Baptistry
The best time to appreciate the Duomo and the Baptistry is in the morning. When the first rays of the sun appear, the domes sparkle gold.
This is the door facing the Florence Cathedral, aka, Duomo. And yes, this is the one called “Gates of Paradise.”
On that golden door, you’ll find these tiny statues that depict scenes from the Old Testament.
Let’s take a closer look.
How to Save Money and Time in Florence
Every tourist attraction in Florence seems to have a long queue outside. My mistake was not listening to my friend who told me to buy a ticket in advance. I told myself that I’d wake up and go early. Unfortunately, no matter how early I was, there were always people who were earlier than me. So, I had to join the long queue against my will. Whether you are going to see the Statue of David or go inside Uffizi Gallery, it is wise to buy your tickets in advance. Joining a tour saves time and you learn more about the city. Click the links below to see what you can do in Florence.
Where to stay in Florence
If you’re looking for a hostel in Florence that’s near the Duomo, you’ll never go wrong with the Academy Hostel. It is few minutes walk to the Santa Maria del Fiore, aka, the Duomo, the city’s most famous landmark The train station is less than 10 minutes walk from here. The hostel is loved by those who have stayed here. It’s clean and fun hostel. There are other hostels you can choose from these websites: HostelWorld, and Booking.com.