Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Up, Up and Up--463 Steps! (And That's Just the Morning!)

Our plan for this morning was to be in line at 8:30 to climb the Dome.  Well, we didn't quite make it by 8:30, but we lucked out--no line at 9:15!

We bought our tickets, and in we went; but not before I snapped a couple of quick pictures of the inside of the church:

Those stairs don't look too bad:

Along the way there are small windows with beautiful views of the city:

Before we knew it, we'd reached the bottom of the dome.  There's a walkway all around the interior of the dome, which we had noticed when we were in the church a few days ago.  It is a beautiful view of the fresco painting on the dome:
We left the base of the dome, and the steps got very narrow, and even steeper:
Pretty soon it was very obvious we were going up and around the dome.  The last part of the climb is really steep, and you can really see the curve of the dome:

Still one last part to go--these last steps are more like a ladder than steps!
Finally--we made it!   Out into the sunshine, and what a glorious view!

And here we are:
After we'd soaked in that lovely view and  rested our legs a bit, it was time to climb back down those 463 steps.  It's a slightly different route back down, but not a bad trek at all.  Worth every step for that view!

We had planned on lunch in the market area, it's just a few blocks away from the Dome.   It was a little bit early for lunch, so we strolled through a street market, looking at some more Italian leather "pocketbooks".  And I found just the perfect red one! David has been very patient with me during my hunt for the perfect red purse!

After that climb and the shopping,  it was definitely time for lunch!  I'd read about a small restaurant near the market that sounded great--Trattoria Mario.  We searched down a couple of small side streets and found it.  We were lucky to get one of the last tables--this is a very busy place!  We did our best to interpret the Italian menu (this is not a tourist type place!)   We ordered a first course of ravioli to share--it was incredibly delicious.  Then we each ordered a main plate--Beef stewed in wine, and a Florentine steak with rosemary.  Oh, my goodness!  The best meal in Italy so far--seriously good food!  The small steak was cooked perfectly (very pink) and drizzled with rosemary olive oil.  The stewed beef was cooked in red wine--and it was melt in your mouth good. Here are the pictures:

We finished every bite!  We paid our very reasonable bill and waddled out of the restaurant--we were stuffed!  There was quite a waiting line to get in--and I certainly understand why.

We had tickets for The Academia museum at 2 pm, and it was still a bit early.  We walked over that way, taking the long route to explore a bit.  Believe it or not, we had a gelatto!  I'm not sure how we found room in our tummies, but we did.  Flavor of the day: dark chocolate and almond.

There was only a small line to get in to the Academia-mostly a wait for the airport-like security.  All bags must be scanned, and we had to walk thru a metal detector.

The Academia is full of wonderful treasures--mostly 14th-17th century paintings.  We looked at several of them, they are beautiful, but we are just not renaissance art lovers, I guess.  Pretty soon we start to suffer from "museum brain"--and they all look alike!

But--the real treasure at The Academia is Michelangelo's David.  Oh, my--it is stunning!  Of course, no pictures allowed.  But.... I was a very bad girl, and snapped one anyway! (I only feel a little guilty)
This amazing marble statue is breathtaking from every angle!  I'm so glad we braved the crowds to see it. (although the crowds were nothing compared to the Louvre and Mona Lisa)

We decided that today would be an early evening--so we started strolling back in the direction of our apartment.  We wanted to take yet a different bridge.  Well-----that was our good luck!

As we crossed the bridge and turned down a small side street, we noticed a directional sign to "Piazza Michelangelo"  Hmmm--we probably should check that out, we said.  Can't be too far.

We walked a few blocks, and came to the ancient wall of the city of Florence:
(by the way, cars, motorscooters and bikes whiz thru this arch--both ways! It's quite narrow, I wonder how many wrecks there are?)

We walked through the arch in the wall, and started up a pretty steep hill.  It's a lovely little neighborhood, hmmmm--can't be much further.........

Finally, we came to some steep stairs.  It must be right at the top of these stairs, right?

Nope, no Piazza Michelangelo!  But there is a lovely little Rose Park, with some pretty views and a funny man on a bench: (or is that two funny men on a bench??)

We enjoyed this little park for a few minutes, and continued up those steeeep stairs.  We were still seeing arrows to Piazza Michelangelo--and we were determined to get there!

By now, I'm huffing and puffing, and my legs are screaming.  I wonder just how many steps I've climbed today?  But no giving up.....

Finally we reach the top--and it's worth every step.  What a beautiful panoramic view over all of Florence!  In the distance you can see the dome we climbed today:
 A view of the river and bridges:
A great view of that ancient wall:

And there's even another statue of Michelangelo's David, that's 3 we've seen in 2 days!

Well, we are now officially v-e-r-y tired! So back down those steps, through the ancient wall and along the narrow winding streets to our apartment.  We had a much earned pre-dinner drink in "our" garden, then had leftovers for dinner--but it was that yummy gnocchi from last night, so pretty great leftovers!

Another fabulous day in Florence!

Tomorrow: An early morning train to Lucca--a small medieval walled town about 1 1/2 hours from Florence.  And hopefully, not too many steps!


  1. Oh I do love Florence...the ancient wall and the river and bridges, museums, rose gardens, domes...all fabulous. Dark chocolate and almond gelato...made my mouth water. Ravioli looked delicious and the bread...I'd eat the beef in wine but the steak...oh my. Isn't it wonderful how different we are! Your picture at the top of the dome was had your lipstick on Di. I love the pictures of the houses and markets. But the pictures of you both smiling on your adventures are heartwarming...

  2. Dear, dear Bren: I didn't have lipstick on--that's probably just a slight "glow" on my face from the climb!! And the steak-I would have shared the edges with you-that part was well done.

  3. Wow, Florence is wonderful and all of your pictures have just made me want to go even more.
    I am going to have to get. usy with more exercise to build up my stamina---that is an awful lot of step climbing along with all of the walking to really see these wonderful cities. I think I could handle the walking but am not so sure about all of those steps---maybe if I took them in stages (very long stages with rest periods) I would make it to the top.

    You and David look so happy in your pictures and it is clear that you are both having the time of your life.