This is an extended version of a guest blog I wrote for mytravelintuscany.com – the rest will (eventually!) follow in another blog
The gypsy didn’t draw breath. Curses both florid and impressive showered down upon me and my descendants – a possibility my guidebook had failed to mention. The gypsy opened my eyes, however, to the fact Florence offers far more than any guidebook can suggest.
Padlock The Duomo
The views are reason enough to climb the Duomo’s 463 stairs. Impressively, many Italian women manage this feat in heels. In unobtrusive corners in the stairwell I found marks left from the medieval builders. Then, on descending, I traversed the inner ceiling at the height of the gods, at times almost a hand’s breadth away from Vasari’s frescos.
The steepest part of climb the Duomo is over the arch. This is the place to find lovelocks – padlocks placed by couples who then throw away the key, so declaring their undying love. Once I saw the padlocks, I discovered many more; one or two on a grille covering a window, on an opening, or an inconspicuous bar. The masses of lovelocks on the Ponte Vecchio are renowned (as they are on the Pont des Arts in Paris, and as frequently removed), yet placing one here, in the heights of the Duomo, felt incredibly personal.