A group of us will visit Florence soon. We want to climb to the top of il Duomo. We understand that this is a 463-step climb up a narrow, one-person-wide, one-way spiral staircase. Some of us are concerned that they might not be physically fit enough to complete the climb.

What happens if someone climbing the Duomo stairs gets tired and needs a rest? Or even can't continue? Are there wide spots in the route where one can rest? Or is this a big problem, such that people who think they can't complete the climb are better off not pushing the attempt?

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    Of course, it could be a goo idea if you and your group try climbing some stairs at a high building near your home to check how you fare in a "safe" environment. Probably there will be no building with 463 steps near you, but you can climb as many steps as possible, descend on the elevator and start again until you get an idea.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 27, 2019 at 23:26
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    @SJuan76 That's only 22 stories Oct 28, 2019 at 0:23
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    Though not the same, you can go to the Piazzale Michelangelo by bus or cab and wont have to climb many stairs. The view is different, but provides a great panorama of the city. If you are concerned about your fitness, considers this as an alternative.
    – Erik
    Oct 28, 2019 at 8:26
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    Though this is a good discussion, let's remember that the question is about the Duomo, its stairs, and its traffic flow — not about how my group can prepare, or find other good views of Florence. Oct 28, 2019 at 8:30
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    My advice: if you think you may not be able to manage it, don't try it. That's for your own good as well as that of the hundreds/thousands of other tourists around you. There's plenty else you can do in town! Oct 28, 2019 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


There is a place where you can take a break half way through. If you suffer from vertigo it isn’t recommended.

From this travel guide:

Usually, people start climbing the stairs full of energy and at full speed, but you start to feel tired after scaling around a hundred or so of the steps. Take some deep breaths and slow down. At a certain point the stairs become really narrow and you can’t pass people coming down from the other direction (yes, the stairs are not one way). Halfway to the top there is a footpath along the base of the dome, where you can better observe the fresco (and have a break!).

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    Side note: The footpath around the base of the dome is rather narrow, too. And definitely nothing for people with fear of heights. The old railings are only about up to your hip, and thus feel unsafe. Same goes for the top of the dome, which has slightly slanted ground and ironwrought railings with rather large gaps between the bars.
    – Erik
    Oct 28, 2019 at 8:20
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    I don't personally suffer from vertigo, but standing at the centre of the dome at ground level and looking up at that walkway was enough to cure me of my desire to climb the steps XD
    – delinear
    Oct 28, 2019 at 11:43
  • Having once been That Guy who was going back down the up staircase because he couldn't handle the heights, I can confirm that it is very awkward for everyone involved
    – Kevin Troy
    Oct 28, 2019 at 19:51
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    @KevinTroy could you please expand this into an answer? Where did you turn around? What parts of the route were difficult or of inconvenience to others as you descended? What parts were no problem? What did you learn about how the Duomo's layout make this easy or difficult? You know something which not many know. Please tell us. Oct 28, 2019 at 22:04

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