My birthday was last month and I marked it in a big way this year. A fellow-January birthday girl and I got tickets to climb to the top of the Florence cathedral dome. It is a bit of a hike. You climb up more than 1200 steps, many very steep, and, even in January, the stairways are crowded. It was worth every step!
You must be very careful on these stairways, some narrow, some steep, some filled with people going down while you are going up. I was very, very careful, bc who wants to fall on a stairway from the roof of the duomo?
This post covers the exterior, a separate post is coming soon on the interior of the dome.
So, the first stopping place is the terrace level below the dome, as seen here:
The views, even from this lesser level, are outstanding! There’s the dome of San Lorenzo:
Beguiling views of the baptistry:
So, as I said, I was extremely careful as I climbed up the duomo stairways. And then, 2 days later, I missed a step on a small stairway in my apartment building, lost my balance and twisted my ankle. And I’ve been laid up ever since! I finally got an X-ray and nothing was broken, thank goodness, but the ligaments were torn, so we think.
Anyway, feeling sorry for myself with my foot elevated for several weeks, I haven’t felt like talking about the dome climb. I am almost back to walking well by now, and this is my post to celebrate that fact!
Above and below, shots of the January skies over Florence:
Ahoy down there!
Looking to San Lorenzo: when I’m high up above Florence I realize again how small this city really is!
Looking toward Fiesole:
Looking up and thinking: “can I climb that many more steps to get up there?” Not completely convinced.
The quality of the sculptural details at this height was amazing to me. The architects and sculptors could have been excused for skimping on details: I mean, how many people will ever see the work from close-up?
But they skimped on nothing:
So, okay, chicken, let’s keep climbing. You made it this far. So, up we go, and the climb got more severe:
This sweet woman encouraged me every step of the way, which was a lot of steps!
Above: Looking south, way across Florence, we see Forte Belvedere with its tower:
Below: looking across Florence to San Minato al Monte:
Looking over to the synagogue with the green dome:
Looking towards Santa Croce:
In the middle ground, the Bargello and Badia:
Looking toward the Mercato Centrale, with the green roof:
San Lorenzo with train station in background:
Looking way across town to the church of Santa Maria Novella:
Another shot of San Lorenzo with its entire complex shown:
Orsan Michele in foreground, Palazzo Pitti in front of forest (Boboli Gardens).
Below: looking to Piazza della Repubblica:
Below: details inside the Giardino Boboli: