The Adventures of the Halstead Fam!

A Uomo visits il Duomo

My catchphrase for the trip is that I’m just a uomo who loves a good duomo. Translated from Italian: I’m just a man who loves a good cathedral. Doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Today we were able to visit the world’s third largest church (by square footage, I believe): The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Fantastic! We bought our Duomo cards and set out to check it out. I admit, the part I was most excited to check out was the climb to the top of the duomo. It did not disappoint!


463 steps up a very tight circular staircase that was not large was what it took. For the most part, going up was fairly easy (except that the dress code required long pants, ugh!). The challenging part came in some of the upper cement corridors where we had to pass those coming down. Wow, that was tight! Rick Steves refers to the experience as the, “renaissance StairMaster.”

Worth it? Yep! The view from the top was awesome! We could see our house, the train station, other churches, the bell tower and basically everything. So cool! It was moderately windy, had just rained, and the platform was smooth marble, so I was a bit nervous. Thankfully, we were able to enjoy the view and grab some pictures without any earthquakes or sliding off the edge!


The duomo took a long time to build. It’s actually one of the larger domes in the world, and sat open for a while because they technology to build a dome of this size didn’t exist yet. Apparently the key is a double dome architecture with 8 ribs and herringbone pattern brick laying.

After that, we toured the church, crypt, baptistery and had seen about enough. We had a free Rick Steves audio walking tour on us, so we did a renaissance stroll and learned a bit more of the history. There is a lot of it! Florence is considered the culture capital of Italy!

Also, Sarah found Macaroons!


Alright, tomorrow off to Switzerland!