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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 43.7687, 11.2569
This morning, we woke up to cold showers. Apparently there was some problem with the water heater. As of tonight, it hasn't been fixed. So, same story tomorrow. Quick showers.
We got up early to get in line for the climb to the top of Brunelleschi's Duomo, a 470+ step trip to the top of Florence's most well known cathedral. At the beginning, the stairs were "normal" stairs, but as we got higher, they turned narrower, spiral, and weaved in and out of some very cramped spaces. From the ring at the bottom of the dome all the way to the top, it was often two-way traffic, which meant hiding in crevices and standing up against the wall like a pancake to let people pass. At one point Jake looked like the hunchback of the Duomo. The journey was not recommended for people with heart problems. We'll add claustrophobia to that list. But we did well, as it was during the morning and the sun was on the other side of the Duomo, we paused often as the line stopped moving, and we were able to enjoy some breaths of fresh air at several points along the way. The dome
was worth our climb because of its historical significance. The entire church was constructed in the hopes that one day someone would figure out the technology to build a dome over its transept. Brunelleschi figured it out, an architectural marvel of the Renaissance. We owed to him to endure the climb.
The top offered a panoramic view of Florence, with its narrow streets and orange clay roofs. It was breathtaking, and we all got a great view, even Barb as she stayed close to the pillars on the interior of the cupola/observatory.
The descent, with many narrow spaces as well, involved ducking and winding and wondering when it would end, but we finally made it back to ground level.
Because it was still morning and the line for the church interior was very long, we decided to visit the Galileo Science Museum. It turned out to be a wise choice, as we found out at 1pm when the light went out that they were closed in the afternoon. The museum was a great collection of artifacts that reminded us that not only was there an artistic Renaissance underway in the 1500s, but also a scientific one. Timepieces, telescopes, scientific instruments, globes, astrolabes,
anatomical models, etc. were accompanied with great explanations. The place was very well organized. A special exhibit in the basement told the history of the bicycle and its many uses.
After the lights went out, we wondered about a power outage, but it turned out 1pm was the end of the day at the Galileo museum. Fortunately for us, we were in the last room and about to finish up anyway.
We stopped for a quick lunch outside the Uffizi and headed back to our hotel for some rest and independent exploration and shopping time.
Rich and Barb went back to the Duomo Museum and Baptistery. The bookstore at the Duomo Museum featured some wonderful titles among the children's books, such as Fun with Dante: Hell, Fun with Dante: Purgatory. Good stuff. No purchases were deemed necessary.
Jake and Jeannette crossed the Arno and found several not-so-touristy shops and streets. It reminded us of Lucca. Jeannette got some new pants. Jake got some prints of Florence and a couple souvenirs.
We met up again for dinner (for the second night) at Giannino In San Lorenzo. This place is great. Excellent food and service made it worth a second visit and our last supper in Florence.
Tomorrow we are bound from Florence to Frankfurt, and then Frankfurt to Chicago via Lufthansa.
Ciao and Guten Nacht.
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