My friends, Ann and Mike, arrived in Florence yesterday all the way from Dayton, Ohio. It was a long trip for them: Dayton to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Amsterdam, and then Amsterdam to Florence. After all that, they arrived four minutes early. Amazing.
Florence has an ancient and thus compact city center. I thought it would be a good afternoon just to give them an overview of the major sights: Santa Croce, The Uffizi, Ponte Vechio, il Duomo, etc. It was mid afternoon and the popular sights are over run by tourists so I didn’t really expect that we’d actually visit any of them on the inside. We’d just, you know, take in the ambiance. Ann was not to be deterred. As we were walking around il Duomo, she noticed a short line to visit the dome. I mean the darn thing is called “il Duomo,” the dome should be the main attraction, right?
Something’s wrong I kept thinking. We stood in the line for about 20 minutes, not bad by Florence standards in the Spring. We should have been skeptical when we got to the cashier to pay our 8 Euros and saw the sign that warned us that il Duomo may not be appropriate for elderly people or those with cardiac issues. With Mike alone we covered both those bases. Oh, did I tell you it was 435 steps to the top? It’s also 435 steps back down. Steep ones too.
However, once we got there top we were more than rewarded for our efforts. The whole of Florence was laid before us, and Ann and I learned that we share an irrational fear of heights.