Last Day in Firenze, the Cradle of the Renaissance
Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
11Trip End Jun 14, 2012
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Next we traveled by foot to Florence's central cathedral, the Duomo or Opera Di Santa Maria Del Fiore. Because it is one of Florence's main tourist attractions, there were large crowds and long lines outside of the cathedral
I was glad to be given the opportunity of climbing the Duomo; I read that the ascent to the top of the cathedral is one of Italy's best experiences. It definitely was. The climb in itself is half the fun. We climbed up the uneven, concrete steps in a dark, winding cave. At the midpoint, we reached a set of winding, spiraling stairs; as we climbed 3 steps, we would wind around and around. It felt never-ending (a very exciting emotion, as odd as it may seem). Because there exists only one staircase, we ran into those that were exiting or descending. We were stopped, similar to a traffic jam, as we looked out into the city through the small, carved windows. Although it was approximately a warm 85 degrees, the inside of the climbing area was cool; the cave's interior surface was cool as well (there must have been air conditioning or insulation installed).
During the traffic jam, an elderly English woman began yelling at an American teenage girl as she was rushing down the stairs. While the English woman was patiently waiting at the top, the young girl ran down the left side of the stairs, maneuvering around those that were waiting to climb up. The English woman pulled her back and stated, "Excuse me! I'm nearly 70 years old and I should be going first. Wait your turn!" The young girl softly replied, "I can go around them
About three-fourths of the way up, we were able to step out onto a balcony located in the actual dome of the cathedral. The balcony traced the inside of the dome and provided us with a "sky deck" view of the entire cathedral. The guests inside the cathedral looked about half their size. After this view, we ascended more staircases to the very top. Upon reaching the top of the Duomo, we crawled outside of the cave and reached the top deck. The view of the entire city took my breath away. We were able to view every Spanish-tiled rooftop and view the mountains in the far distance. The air was of thin consistency but provided adequate oxygen to the lungs, a refreshing experience.
After dinner we attempted to stop by the spots that were on our "to-do list." Since it was our last night in Florence, they mostly consisted of popular areas around the city that friends recommended (they studied here last summer). First we tried Grom, an organic gelato shop in the heart of Florence; I tried melon and strawberry. We then traveled to the Duomo, sat at its steps, ate our gelato, and watched the sunset. After dropping my scoops on the Duomo steps, I returned to Grom and tried hazelnut and ciocolatto; it was the best ice cream or gelato I have tasted due to its smooth consistency. We then traveled to Ponte Vecchio (next to the Pitti Palace) to try Gusta Pizza. According to the locals, Gusta is the best pizza in the city of Florence; it was delizioso. We ordered the margherita pizza to-go, ate the pizza on the steps of the Pitti Palace, and sat under the stars. No better way to end our journey in Firenze.
Videos attached: Accordionist Playing to Z, Choir Singing at Basilica di Santa Croce, and Local Band Playing at Ponte Vecchio