Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Florence 2012: Climbing to the top of The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

On our second day in Florence we climbed to the top of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Over 300 meters high with over 400 steps this was a huge trek for our jet lagged bodies. We woke up fairly early and started the climb around 9am so thankfully it wasn't crowded or too hot. If you want to do the same climb I'd highly recommend it but make sure you go early in the day, otherwise the lineups are just insane. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore was built in the 15th century, with the dome being created by Brunelleschi who used  Roman techniques to create it.

On the way to the top you get some amazing views of the frescos at the top of church. These were created by Vasari in the 16th century and depict typical scenes found in many churches: heaven and hell. Honestly in Florence you will be INUNDATED with beautiful artwork and it all begins to blur together. It is totally ok if you don't remember all of it, try to pick out your favorite pieces and hold onto those. 
 Once you get to the top the views of the city are fantastic, this is a shot of the Santa Maria Nouvella that I took from the top. You can get a panoramic view of the city which is great early on in your trip to give you an idea of how the city is laid out.
I would not recommend this for anyone who has a fear of heights, the drop to the bottom is very far and once you start going up it is very hard to turn around. The stairs to get up are very narrow and hard to climb so make sure you're in (reasonably) good shape.
 Unfortunately at the top there is a great deal of graffiti that people have put up. Mostly banal, on occasion you do get some gems like the one above.

 There are locks at the top, so if you want to leave behind a memento I think this is a nice way to do it.

I don't look back on my time in Florence and remember all the partying we did. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun and we met some great people. Instead it's things like climbing up to the top of
the duomo that stand out in my memory.

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