Florence, Italy. October 2014.
Going up the cupola of Florence’s duomo (aka Santa Maria del Fiore) can be done with a combined 10€ ticket that includes going up Giotto’s Tower and entrance to The Baptistry of St. John. The ticket is good for 24 hours so if you’ve got good legs for climbing then you can make the most of your ticket. For some people though, the views from the tower and the cupola are pretty much the same, so if you’re pressed for time or if (like me) your legs have only got enough juice for one climb, then one climb is just as well.
What I like about gaining access to the cupola is that it affords you views of the duomo that can really change your opinion of it. As people who’ve visited Florence’s duomo know, compared to the intricately detailed exterior, the interior is relatively sparse. The floors have beautiful tilework, but generally the walls are quite bare and austere.
Climbing up the cupola, however, gets you up close to the ceiling frescoes that from downstairs seem so blurry and far away, and you also get a nice sort of panoramic view of the church interior, where you can better appreciate the church’s shape and design.
And it’s always fun seeing those tourists down below looking like ants
The climb is tough, but in the end, the views are worth it
From the top of the cupola you can spot the tiny people at the top of Giotto’s tower
Florence is pretty small so you can spot a lot of the major sights from up here
Unlike the climb in Siena (Torre del Mangia), they actually–mercifully–allow you to bring water here, so you can sit and recover and rehydrate while enjoying the view!
Tickets & information here