Thursday, May 13, 2010



I have so many pictures to show you and so much to tell you! But our internet connections have been not the best and I am overwhelmed. So I'm going to take the pressure off myself. I might just not tell you anything about it.


Okay, I'll tell you one thing.

After we had dropped some things off at our hotel room (my favorite hotel room I've ever stayed in) Brooke and DR kept talking about going to see Il Duomo. I had no idea what it was because part my preparations for this trip was to leave all the planning to everyone else but me. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted to experience it with fresh eyes. I wanted to be able to feel a bit of spontaneity. So far it has worked out perfectly for me (except when we almost didn’t make it to the Musee d’ Orsay, which held my favorite paintings of the trip so far).

We were walking down the street in Florence and my dad said, “Look up there.” I looked up and through the buildings and saw an incredible sight! Il Duomo. I wanted to know what the colors were made of and learned that it is marble. It is so very intricate. The people here really don’t mess around. When they are going to build something spectacular, they go all out. It is huge! And the details are amazing.

that's all marble!

duomo detail

We went inside the church and the floors were covered in beautiful patterns of inlaid marble. The ceilings were so high and under the dome there were paintings that are bizarre and beautiful. (So many weird demons doing bad things to people. Yuck. I don’t want to see a demon sticking a burning torch up someone’s behind, thanks. And lots of nakie nakie in a church? Kinda strange to me.) After the church closed we were about to leave and we saw a sign that said we could climb up the stairs. I had seen some people on a balcony way up there and we decided to go for it.

Up we went.

Up, up and up.

blurry brooke climbing duomo

The stone stairs turned and turned, higher and higher, one landing after another.

blurry britt

Finally we reached the balcony. We saw the paintings up close and could see the patterns on the floors from a different perspective. It was so cool.

We thought we were done, but when we went to exit we saw that we could go up even more. To the top of the dome!

We were already sweaty and out of these little windows we could see the tops of the red tiled roofs and the distant churches and hills. We figured it wasn’t much higher and started to climb up in spirals. Up and up we went, way higher than we thought we would go. And then we started climbing up and over in an arch shape and we knew were about there, on the tippy top of the dome.

out the window

We sat at the bottom of a ladder waiting for some people to descend and to have enough room to climb up and I started to get the panicky feeling of claustrophobia. We were SO HIGH! And surrounded by stone and it was getting a little stuffy right at this highest point. I kept calm by breathing deep and telling myself that it was fine. I didn’t need to move anywhere. I could just stand right at the edge of these stairs and be just fine.

It was time for the last little climb up a short ladder and I could see the sky and feel the fresh air. When I took the step out onto the white marble I could see for miles! It was completely dizzying. In fact, I’m getting dizzy just recalling it. We hadn’t known we could climb to the top of the orange dome that if famous in the skyline of Florence and here we were on the top of it looking over the city and beyond. It was exhilarating! And there is no way that my description or our pictures could do it justice.

view from the top

duomo viewfinder

And that’s all I’m going to tell you about. The motorcycles and museums and culture and food will have to be my own experience for now. How lovely a surprise to find out that Venice is even more colorful and beautiful and amazing in person that its charming pictures elude to will have to be my little secret for now. The annoyance to pay for using the public restroom will just have to be shared another time.


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