It's astounding that I have posted so many Italy pictures and have yet to comment on the numerous churches. No matter where one goes in Italy, churches dominate the landscape. They are front and centre in every city, village and town no matter how large or small. They are also, in many respects, walk in museums. Art works that are hundreds of years old are open on display.
The following pictures are of the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo in Florence. Above the dome is visible through a narrow side street. Although I took some pictures of the whole church, it really is quite immense and a picture just does not render it justice.
The construction of this Gothic cathedral commenced in 1296 and was completed by Brunelleschi in 1436. The frescoes that cover the dome (seen above) were painted by Varsari and Zuccari. The paintings on the lower part of the dome depict the depths of hell. As you move up, you come to earth and then finally at the top the heavenly realm.
As many churches this age, there are narrow passage ways and steep stair wells. Going around this one (I no longer remember how many steps...but quite a few) left me dizzy and breathless, and not just because of the view.
Finally, the dome as seen at a lower level. This church was unique in that taking pictures of the interior was not an issue. In many of the churches, because they are considered sacred places of worship, cameras are not welcome.