Florence – Florence Cathedral (The Dome)

I’ve posted separately with photos from the top of the Dome.

The queue to climb the Dome is separate from the queue to enter the Cathedral, with the latter being visible on the right-hand side of the photo. The entrance to climb the Dome is on the door on the left in the above photo and it’s essential to have an advance ticket. The advance tickets have to be, well, booked in advance, which can be done by using the terminals in the Cathedral’s museum. I tried to book on Sunday morning, with Tuesday morning being the first available time that I could pick. There was around a twenty-five minute wait in the queue, during which time there were some people trying to extort money from those queueing. There is a charge to climb to the Dome, but I had a Firenze Card and this was included as part of that.

The climb up isn’t particularly difficult for anyone of at least average fitness, with a stop off at the base of the Dome’s interior where it’s possible to look down into the Cathedral.

Visitors can walk along the rim of the Dome, underneath the fresco painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari over an eleven-year period. It’s nearly 39,000 square foot in size, that’s not an inconsiderable amount of painting that was required.

The herringbone arrangement of bricks used by Filippo Brunelleschi, considered to be one of the first modern engineers.

Some of the brickwork above the steps.

There’s a display of some pieces of equipment which were used in the construction of the Cathedral.

The final part of the climb got steeper as it’s necessary to walk up the edge of the Dome itself.

A similar view looking down.

The last section is a little more difficult, with people needing to go down backwards.

I did this bit slowly, but very bravely…..

The view of the bell tower, which I climbed yesterday.

There’s not as much as protection on the edge of the Dome as there is on the Bell Tower, it’s a little more challenging for those scared of heights. On which note, I am scared of heights, although there wasn’t much of difficulty in that sense with the climb as there were no really exposed areas. Most of the climb up and down use different staircases, although there are some sections which are used in both directions, meaning a wait of a few minutes. There’s a staff member who guides visitors up the last section, but otherwise I didn’t see any staff during the climb up or down. However, it all felt safe and secure, although is a tougher climb than the Bell Tower.

The highlight for me was though being able to look down into the Cathedral and to see the frescoes on the ceiling of the Dome’s interior, all quite spectacular. Having written that, the views over Florence are of course exceptional and it’s a good little workout. There are 463 steps to get to the top, although it didn’t really feel like that, other than on the steeper section towards the end perhaps. It’s unfortunate that the sheer number of people wanting to do this climb means that it is often sold out for some days ahead, but for anyone who can get to climb it, it’s definitely worth it.