It was our last day in Florence and I was up very early as always; after a quick breakfast I left the hotel for Santa Maria Del Fiore. The day before, while strolling around town, I noticed a long queue on one side of the famous cathedral. I found out that it was an entrance to the steps to the dome.
I thought it would be nice to see Florence from the top of its famous Duomo and because I dread long lines, I made sure I went very early.
There are more than 400 steps to the summit of the cathedral; some say there are 463, others say it is less. I never found out because I stopped counting after a little over 300.
Climbing up to the huge dome was one of the most physically challenging activities in Florence especially for someone like me carrying a 2 lb. camera.
The steps were narrow and steep. Some sections were dark; you wouldn’t want to get stuck in any of them; it’s definitely not for claustrophobics and the fainthearted. I remember having to make rest stops for at least three times to catch my breath but it was helpful to meet a few folks on their way down who were kind enough to tell me how long or short I still needed to go and that they know it is agonizing but worth the labor.
Halfway through is an entrance to the interior of the dome where you can walk around a narrow balcony running along the sides of the wall to get a close up of the stunning frescoes inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
The moment I reached the last step, I fell in love with Florence all the more. It was a clear day, perfect to enjoy a panoramic of Florence; I could see the Arno River, the surrounding hills, the Santa Maria Novella Termini and our hotel that was blocks away, I was even able to re-trace my steps from the previous day. It was definitely worth the climb.
On my way down, it was my turn to encourage climbers to carry on. Once out, I sat on a café across the exquisite cathedral and rewarded myself even more with a big slice of Tiramisu and ice cold lemon juice for the simple pleasure of having just conquered Florence’s famous duomo.