Day 10 - Friday 8th July 2016
08.07.2016 - 08.07.2016 30 °C
Our last full day in Tuscany so we got going early and drove back in to Florence as we hadn't seen all the major sights we had wanted to. Despite leaving home just after 8am by the time we drove around looking for parking we didn't get to the Duomo until nearly 10am. The hit list comprised of attractions all covered by the one ticket for 15 euro. We started to line up to climb to the top of the Duomo but the queue was long, we decided that the bell tower was the better option as there was no queue. We slowly made our way up the 414 steps inside the tower and with a couple of rest stops we reached the top and were treated with 360 degree views of Florence - simply stunning.
Once we ascended back to street level we headed to the Baptistry which is a separate building beside the Duomo and shaped like a dome itself. Once inside we were greeted by a giant dome ceiling with a circle letting in light in the middle. The walls of the dome were ornately covered by gold and coloured mosaics of many biblical themes. The altar was on one side and the baptismal font on the other. An extremely pretty and colourful building indeed.
Next stop was outside and lining up to enter the cathedral as our tickets gave us access underneath the floor of the cathedral where the old church was before they built on top of it. Lots of tombstones and even saw two skulls encased in glass behind a locked gate. Exiting the cathedral it was time for lunch, we walked a few streets away to get away from the duomo crowds and sat and had lunch.
Only 2 attractions left from our ticket purchase but the main thing was to climb the Duomo. The queue was still long so we had turns lining up and it took just over an hour to get inside. Climbing up the dome is done in several stages. After a little while, we were up above the church altar but under the dome that was amazingly painted. We circled around the edge of the dome and then started scaling more stairs upwards. It was certainly an adventure navigating the tiny stairs and with so many people going up and down. But the view from the top - wow. Such a beautiful and historic city. On the way down I was just a few steps from the ground when I slipped and overstretched my foot. Painful for a minute but nothing too serious.
We stopped by the Magnum ice cream store right next to the Duomo, here you make your own style Magnum. You get to choose the flavour of ice cream, choice of three types of chocolate coating, choose 3 types of sprinkles or crumbles then have it drizzled with fondant. Interesting experience as Stephanie and I had one each. Last stop was the museum that was included in the ticket price. After a hot day, long queues, and climbing two tall structures I had little energy to wander around looking at sculptures. We all breezed through the displays as we wanted to start heading back to the villa. This was our last night all together and dinner supposedly was booked for 8pm somewhere so we wanted to get back and shower before dinner.
For some unknown reason the traffic getting out of Florence was crazy. The entire drive should take just under an hour but we were caught in a traffic jam just trying to escape the city centre. It was about 45 minutes before we could even reach the freeway, a trip of only a few miles. Once we hit open road we made quick time and arrived about 8pm. All the cars from the others were still there and we found they were still waiting to hear from one of the other families. We showered and dressed but then just hung around the villa waiting for the others. We ventured out finally around 9pm to the restaurant we'd had lunch at yesterday that was just a few hundred metres away. I was tired from a long day so was less than impressed that my meal didn't arrive until about 11pm whilst others had already finished eating. I quickly devoured my pizza that had porcini mushrooms and goose ham. We headed home for our last night in the villa, had a few quick shots of limoncello then went to bed and crashed out.