Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Only Way Is Up

One of the first things we did on our first full day in Florence was to climb up the 414 steps of the 85 m tall Campanile (the bell tower of the cathedral). The cathedral (the Duomo) itself is 6 metres higher, but there was a queue for it! The climb up the Campanile had 2 purposes: firstly to give us an overview of the city, and secondly to burn off enough calories so that we would't feel guilty about eating much more than usual later in the day.

The weather for most of our stay was great, and the climb was well worth the effort. Fortunately, there are "floors" in the building where you can pretend to take in the view while you try to disguise the fact that you're panting like a dog! A grille in the floor even allows you to admire the dandruff of fellow tourists below (if only from a distance). At the top you can step out and take pictures of people panting at the top of the dome of the cathedral.

Inside the top level you can even find proof positive that the Italian art of graffiti was alive and well in 1803 (or is it 1823?). Personally, I think the descendents of Benedetto Buffo should be hunted down and made to pay for the damage! Perhaps these guys could help out?