Yeah, that could be the title of my new book...hmmm. In Florence Italy, the icon of the city is the Duomo (dome) which towers high over the city, the tallest building. No doubt city zoning has ensured it will remain the highest peak. Naturally the Duomo crowns the cathedral Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. First stone laid September 8, 1296! Dome completed in 1436 - we're talking 15th-century stairs to the top, folks. Other than the sad proliferation of "Squiggy loves Laverne" type graffiti in 20 languages throughout the entire stairway and even on the marble columns at the top, the Duomo is essentially in its original state, save for a bit of electrical lighting and the occasional handrail. At right is just one shot - I tried to document the journey. The reward is a view from the top of all Florence and surrounding mountains, quite an Italian vista.
The Italian high school students were not daunted in the least on their way to the top. A few years ago I would have been the same, but at this stage of my life I think whether I have enough insurance to cover any mishaps. Don't worry I'm not a total scrooge, I did appreciate the view and the beauty - it's just that the trip up was like a medeival dungeon that kept on going! NOT for the faint of heart or medically-challenged! I did it!