Last week I left you with the knowledge that two of us like heights just fine and two of us don’t. I am sure it is not surprising that I like heights just fine, mostly I worry about things much crazier than falling from great heights.
Like what, you ask?
You know silly stuff, like what happens if a tunnel collapses while our car is driving through or the idea that the top of the Duomo is really only a foot or two of concrete on the top. I am not claustrophobic and I don’t hate heights, I hate the idea of catastrophic failure.
Why would I worry about catastrophic failure at the Duomo?
Quick history lesson, the Duomo is the dome that finishes the Florence Cathedral, formerly known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. The Cathedral was begun in 1296 but couldn’t be consecrated or considered complete until the dome was in place. Construction on the dome didn’t being until 1420. That is over 100 years later. The Duomo was also the first dome constructed in the Renaissance without creating a scaffolding system for the concrete to sit on while it cured. This was an impossibility since the Duomo’s great height (374 feet or 114 meters). Filippo Brunelleschi was the main architect in the domes construction. He had spent many years in Rome studying the architecture of the ancient Romans. With those ideas in his mind he constructed a dome held together by the angle of its incline and bound by four sets of chains that encircled the entire dome like barrel hoops. These were then also enclosed in concrete. There is an inner and outer dome and the outer one is only 2 feet thick with concrete at the bottom, narrowing out to 1 foot of concrete at the top. Honestly, that’s not a lot of concrete to have withstood almost 600 years and millions of visitors. Do you see the potential for catastrophic failure?
When you are climbing the Duomo, which has 463 stairs, you actually climb between the outer dome and the inner dome and then make your way up the side of the final stretch of dome to peak out of a narrow hatch. From there you can take in panoramic views of all of Florence.
I am going to add some pictures of the four of us. You already know I don’t care about how high it is. See if you can pick out the two who do.
On Thursday we headed back towards Vicenza and our home. We stopped briefly in Bologne to see the leaning tower there. After having seen Pisa it was rather anticlimactic. The town didn’t seem to take care of their city very well and after the majesty of Florence we were all a little disappointed. One plus was we found an excellent vegetarian restaurant, which made A very happy. We finally made our way home and our cats were happy to see us.
Settled in we made Hugo’s and Aperol Spritz and then ventured downtown Vicenza for some gelato. I didn’t say more gelato because there is no such thing as too much gelato.
Friday we took A & C to Venezia (Venice) we walked and hit all the major highlights but as I have said before Venezia is a big place and you can walk a long time without covering the same tracks twice. Not Will and I, we have covered most of it at least once but we still have a bunch of outlying islands to get to. We ate, had gelato, ate more and then when it was dark out called it a night.
We went to Soave Castle the next day to see the castle and get some lunch. Will and I had been here before for a wine festival. I must say some of the best wines in the region come from this little area (in my opinion, of course). The construction of the castle was begun in the 10th century and from then until 19th century it changed hands many times. Since 1830 it has remained in the same family and they take care of the castle and the grounds. It is not a functioning castle, other than tourism but the ruins are still neat to wander through and it does maintain some of its frescoes and furnishings. It is a neat way to spend an hour or two exploring the rooms and turrets. We stopped at our super market on the way home and bought cheese, olives, bread, etc for a light dinner meal which we ate out on (as Will likes to call it) the lanai.
All to quickly the next day it was time to say goodbye to C & A. We are already making plans with them for next year, maybe somewhere new!
This last week we had to recover from the adventure and some bug that I managed to pick up along the way.
The weekend was spent getting ready for my daughter, Z, and the Finnrito to visit us. (We pick them up at the airport Thursday!) You have no idea how un-baby proof your house is until you start looking at all the knick knacks that are at baby level. Yikes!!
Our next couple of weeks are going to be packed with family and adventures and if I don’t make it to the blogging table don’t despair, I will be back before you know it.
Until we talk again
Ciao miei Amici