As the pictures will show, there were some amazing views from up top, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. That being said, they way oversold the tickets for the Monday after Easter, which meant we were literally trapped on the tip top outside for what felt like an eternity (apparently about half an hour) with more people being let up the stairs to where we were, along with masses of people around us also wanting down, and no clue what was going on since we couldn't see the stairwell and people seemed to be moving forward towards the stairs slower than the earth was spinning. Did I mention there wasn't anyone from the museum up the to let us know what was going on? Any other day, I imagine it's not so crowded, but it felt even worse, because the stairwell to get up, aside from being long, was super narrow and the walkway was curved to mirror the dome as it wound around inside the ceiling of the cupola, so I really wonder what a fire marshal or lawyer would have thought of the whole thing. If you have any fear of heights or crowds, it's not recommended, but if you want great views and have lots of time to kill, very worthwhile.
Eye level with the cupola. This was only part of the way up, as the tour let you go literally all the way to the top of the cupola.
View from the floor of the ceiling. Only one person died while the cupola was built, which given that this was the first dome built in this style, is not bad. Also interesting, the church was built before they knew how architecturally they would design a roof/cupola big enough to support itself. Nine years later, Brunelleschi had it figured out, but for those nine years, no roof.
The ladder that the "dove" from the Easter service starts and returns to. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, read the post before this one. In general, the Duomo was supposed to be very simple inside, so the ceiling was the only really intricate original decoration. Otherwise, a couple stained glass windows, but not much. Even the more ornate floor was a later addition over the plain brick floor.
Closer view of part of the dome's ceiling, which is apparently larger than the Sistine Chapel.
Greg standing near a ceiling section that portrays what happens if you don't obey the Church.
On one of the ledges around the top of the Chapel. Note, when taking this picture, Greg helpfully told me, "Don't worry, the camera has a strap." My loving reply, "but there's no strap for me!" Realistically, there was a waist high railing, but it was still unnerving to be that high up. Those specks on the floor are people.
Andrea standing on a ledge above the Duomo bell tower
Greg on that same ledge with the arch in the background.
Looking out over the city towards the city hall and across the river in the direction of the Pitti Palace, which is on the hill