I struck out on my own to climb Giotto’s Campanile, the tower right next to Florence’s Duomo.
Of course, I meandered around at first and found a bar to grab a quick espresso. (Buongiorno! Vorrei un caffe, per favore. At this point rolling my R’s was getting easier.) I watched a few street vendors painting in the piazza, and heard several fellow Americans attempting their Italian. When I felt I had given the espresso enough time to energize me for the climb, I got in the ticket line for the Campanile.
413 steps up. 413 steps down.
Luckily there were a few floors between the ground and the very top so I could stop and catch my breath. The stairs were very narrow and winding – if you’re any more claustrophobic than I am it might get uncomfortable when you’re halfway up. But in my opinion, the view was definitely worth it. Each of the five levels had an even more fantastic view.
There was a cage over the walkway at the top, but it didn’t obstruct the view – or the wind. I had to worry more about seeing through my hair than the cage. Seeing the Duomo, and the rest of the city on into the countryside surrounding Florence, was breathtaking.
I almost needed to sit for a while after I got back down those 413 steps… But looking back up at the tower I had just climbed, I decided to go find lunch instead.