Despite the fact that it was the last week of October, the line to climb to the top of the Duomo dome was wrapped around the building. The line to climb Giotto's bell tower, right next door, was nonexistent. Lucky for us, we had our walking shoes on and were ready to climb the bell tower's 414 narrow, slippery, dusty stairs.
At each observation deck, we stopped to catch our breath and to take in the view. As is often the case in life, the higher and harder we climbed, the better the view got. Midway up the tower, I peered out the hole in the side serving as a window, and saw the view pictured. The red roofs of Florence stretched out before us, the Duomo towered to the left. Life was good.