Thursday, 21 April 2016

Italy: Florence Part 2

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

Continued from Part 1.

So on the next day, since we've already bought the tickets to enter Duomo and the rest, we decided to go there first. Of course, we need to have the most important meal of the day first. As we walked towards the dome, we found this cute little cafe just around the corner of the dome.


We just ordered a slice of tuscany pizza each and croissants, plus coffee.

My bestie and I both ordered their special cathedral macchiato. If you've tasted italian coffee before, you'll know how strong it was. So my friend ordered a cup of latte, and we each added some to the coffee that made them tasted even better!! Their croissants though...mmphh..soo gooodd!!!! The looks may be deceiving. I've never tasted croissants so soft, the chocolate filling was WOW!!

The cafe was so cute and cozy, plus at this hour, there weren't a lot of people yet. The locals love to drink their coffee (more like espresso shots) at the bar/counter. So there'll rarely any people seating. They also has an upstairs area near the kitchen where they make all the yummy pastries, but we didn't go.

You'll see these horsies lining up in front of the cathedral. The full name of the cathedral is  Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Entrance for the cathedral is free of charge and is located opposite of the baptistry. 

This place is huge! Well, it's a cathedral after all. It is one of the largest one in Italy. 

On the way to the exit, there's a staircase going downstairs to the cemetery and old ruins of the Santa Reparata. To enter, you'll need a ticket, which we bought the day before

Santa Reparata is the old church before Santa Maria del Fiore was built. 

After it's destruction, the Santa Maria was built on top of it, but some of the remains were maintained and preserved until today. 

To go on top of the dome, there's another entrance that you need to go through, which will lead you to these staircase.

So we walked around the dome to go to the entrance.

The queue was already very looooooong. There are a lot of gypsies here and they'll try to beg for money. Luckily, we didn't bring any cash with us because we didn't plan to buy anything today.

The stairwell to go up is very narrow and steep. Some of them are spiral like this.

Some of them are straight. As you can see, it can only fit one person at a time. Half way through was fine because people going down will go through a different route, but as we get nearer the top, both going down and up uses the same path, that's when it gets tricky. This is the moment to test your flexibility and be limber as much as possible so squeeze through.

A preview when you ran out of breath going up. A bit of motivation.

As we reached the neck of the dome, the path took us around to see the cathedral from above. 

Then, continue on through the steep and narrow steps.'ll feel vertigo on this for sure. 

And then..the promised land...the top of the dome..I see light!!!

It is surely an accomplishment.

Just look at that view.

You can see the central market (green roof), the train station...

There's Basilica of Santa Croce (on the right), the synagogue (on the left)

Tired...but happy (on the inside)

Looking for something? Total steps that we took for the dome was 463 steps.

After we came down, our knees were loose, so we decided to go inside the baptistry first before going on the bell tower.

In the baptistry, also known as the Baptistry of Saint John, 

well...there's nothing much, really. 

This is one of the oldest building in Florence, constructed between 1059 to 1128. 

And of course the famous gate to paradise located outside. 

Because we were still shaken up, we decided to go to the museum first and leave the bell tower for last.

There's air-conditioning inside the museum which is good! Altough it was spring, but it was quite hot here. 

We weren't really interested to see any of the statues here, well..let's face it. They're statues.

Other than to see this. This is the real gate to paradise made by Lorenzo Ghiberti. This door is made by pure gold. Of course they're not going to put them outside. duh~~

We only took the chance to go to the loo here because it was comfy. 

Then, we're taking up the challenge to climb the bell tower....yosh!

The bell tower was a bit better because they have three stops where you can rest your legs and not feel like falling down the stairs.

Hellooooo down thereeee....

Of course there's gonna be a bell in the bell tower. pfftt..

A selfie before my face get messed up by the sweats.

I was them a few minutes ago...hahahaha

Getting closer....

Tadaa.....The bell tower has bars all over, so it was difficult to get a good picture. Plus the space was not that big. 

Hey...we were just there..

They let you sign here and it'll be up on their archive. They do this probably to avoid a lot of people scribble and leave their marks on the walls, which they still do. 

And down we steps for the bell tower was 414, making the total steps we took for the day was 877 steps. woootwooot!!!

There's a lot of these water fountains placed all over the city, which is a good thing because after you went up both the dome and bell tower, you'll fell your hands are a bit dirty because you have to touch and hold on to the walls since there were no railings. 

This is an Islamic school we came accross on the way back. However, I hardly see any muslim around. 

I'll continue our Florence excursions on a later post. 

Until next time...

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