Our last day in Florence was going to be spent scaling the many stairs of the Duomo. My wife, my loving wife, thought that the admission was free the day we decided to wait over an hour in line only to find out that it was not free, and that tickets needed to be purchased elsewhere. Defeated; we decided to wait 10 minutes or so in the free line to see the Church from ground level. Once there we spent a few minutes scanning the church, lighting candles, and taking a few photos.
As we were about to leave the Duomo we saw a staircase leading to the basement. I was curious so I walked down to find a gift shop. Go figure. There was also a museum that showcased the mosaics found on the basement floor. It was there that we talked to the ticket dude who explained to us that the 10 Euro/ticket would gain us entrance into the Duomo Staircase and Giotto's Bell Tower. So, rejuvenated by good news we decided to hike Giotto's Bell Tower instead of the Duomo because the line was about 10 minutes long.
If you are so inclined, and I do mean inclined to hike up either of these staircases be ready for tight spaces, heights, and stairs of plenty. I didn't count the stairs while walking up but I would have to imagine there were over 400. That number doesn't sound so bad, but the stairs are tight and you have to share it with both directions.
The good news is that the view is beautiful. I wish the hours were better for night photography because I'm sure these photos would look spectacular at night. Bring water and don't be ashamed to rest at the various levels between staircases.
After our descent down Giotto's we walked over to Ponte Vecchio and hitched a ride in a cab up to Piazzale Michelangelo. Those photos will be addressed in a separate blog post since I had a great time up there.