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 lavishly ornamented with religious themes. These doors are perfect examples of 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 by this door that he complimented it as the “Gates of Paradise.”
The North Door. This portal is also made by Ghiberti. The Scenes, Life and the Passion of Christ are rendered here.
The South Door. This is the oldest door of the baptistry made 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 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.
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.