Sometimes there is a reason certain places are overflowing with tourists and it is generally because a visit to that place is not complete without certain experiences. One of these experiences is a visit to the most famous church in Florence.
Commonly known as the Florence Cathedral, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore dominates the central part of Florence. Signified by its spectacular pink, green and white marble exterior this church is a stunning masterpiece of architectural design.
The gothic style of the building is emphasised even further when stepping inside. I never will get sick of the grandeur of Italian churches!
One of the signifying features of the church is its dome. Visible from a distance, dominating the landscape above the sea of terracotta rooftops it further expresses how huge this building is. So when I found out you could climb to the top, I pretty much ran to get in line!
I really do hate lines though, so instead I pre-purchased a ticket that allowed entry into the Duomo, the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile valid for 24hours.
I chose to climb first thing in the morning after my usual pastry and espresso for breakfast. I hoped to avoid the crowds at this time as well as the heat as it was mid-September. The morning started out a little cloudy but after struggling up 463 steps the clouds had cleared and the view was spectacular! Be prepared if you are going to do this, it is literally 463 steps up with no real place for resting and a lot of it is single file, but what a reward it is to reach the top!
Climbing up the stone steps towards the top you are treated to a close up look at the art work that lines the internal roof of the dome. It is quite amazing to get that close to the art and really experience how many hours of work must have gone into it and how difficult it must be to paint with that much detail on a roof!
The next morning, just under 24hours later as to make sure to get the full value of the ticket I found myself ascending yet another 414 steps to the top of Giotto’s Campanile. A lot of people say that you do not need to climb both, and definitely the second climbing effort was a bigger test of my fitness, but the views of the Cathedral next door make that climb very worthwhile. This climb, while my tired body didn’t really agree at the time, is a little easier with a wider staircase and plenty of spots to stop for a rest on the journey upward. After a total of 877 steps in 2 days I felt better about the amount of food I consumed in the following days, I mean hey, I deserved it!
I really loved Florence, there is so much to see and do (and to eat and drink!). You can read more about my time in Florence HERE.