Today was relatively relaxed. It was Raine's last day so we got up super early (7:30) to make the hike up to the top of the Duomo before the crowds started. The hike was really hard. There are 460 something steps and they are all very narrow and steep. There were over 200 in a row on a spiral about 3 feet wide. It took us about 20 minutes to get up to the inside round about where you are right below the start of the fresco of the roof of the dome. From there you could literally touch the bottom of the painting.
I'm not sure why I was surprised, but the painting quality is actually relatively poor. I understand that on such a big scale, it would be almost impossible for it to be much better. And I also understand that the artist who painted it (Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari) didn't actually paint the entire thing themselves (they had a lot of apprentices who would to the rough draft and the main artists would focus on things like faces and other defining features). But it just seemed kind of sloppy. The scene was beautiful though. The bottom most tier was of hell, with a sort of purgatory earth and then heaven on top with Jesus at the very top. It had all kinds of different types of devils, demons and wild animals and even little flying angel looking demon things hovering in the middle. It was a beautiful scene.
After this, we had about another 10 minute hike up the last 150 or so stairs (going up to the very tip top of the dome) and had some of the most amazing views I have ever seen. The city was cloudy but there was pretty good visability so we really got lucky. The mountains surround the entire city and the duomo is right in the center so it was really easy to see pretty much anything.
The hike down was really scary. The steps are so narrow and I really thought I was going to fall at least 15 times. When we did finally get down, I said bye to Raine (who was going to Pisa for the day and then flying back to London from there) and I headed to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see the statue of David. The museum itself was kind of boring. There were some really pretty paintings but nothing too exciting. I did really enjoy seeing some unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo. There were 3 sculptures that were intended to be eventually placed as part of a tomb for this pope and then they ended up burying him in a cathedral or something like that, so there were these three sort of half finished carvings that were really interesting.
Of course, David was beautiful. I mean, the statue is really amazing. The proportions and the build of his body are perfect and it's a very large statue. Unfortunately, they won't let you take any pictures (and they have someone standing there making sure you do not) so I didn't get any, but it looks just like the fake one, only... real.
After i finished there, I walked down to the Piazza Pitti because I wanted to go inside the Giardino di Boboli and the Forte di Belvedere, but you had to pay like €20 to get in and that sounded lame so I parked in the Piazza on the ground to protest and read for like 2 hours. The sun was out for most of it and it was beautiful.
The boys decided to wait and leave in the morning, so we may go to dinner tonight, I'm not sure. If not, I will definitely be in bed early because I did not sleep last night hardly at all.
Off to Siena tomorrow to see Francis (a roomy from Theta) who is studying for the semester. I'm not sure I can express to you how excited I am to see her.