Wandering – walking in Italy

Even though we ate multi-course meals every day in Italy we didn’t gain weight because we walked everywhere and climbed the stairs in the hill towns.

Saluzzo- stairs to the upper level


I found a few of the walks challenging.

1. To get to the top of the Duomo (Cathedral) in Milan is a climb of about 200 steps which winds round a very narrow tower. I was dizzy, nauseous, and tired when I got to the top, but it was worth it.

Roof of Duomo in Milan

I have no idea how this woman climbed those stairs in these shoes…

Rooftop, Milan Duomo

but I’m glad to say my new hiking shoes were great – my feet said thank you even on the cobblestone streets

Cobblestones in Saluzzo

San Gimignano, a walled medieval hill town in Tuscany, famous for its towers, was a thriving stop on the pilgrims route to Rome until 1348 when the plague killed off about 2/3 of the population

2. My friend Annette and I decided to climb the almost 200 stairs of the Civic Museum tower (the highest in San Gimignano).

Tower in San Gimignano

I don’t think I’d ever repeat it. The steps at the lower floors were ordinary, worn stone stairs, but a recent renovation added a  ‘modern’ [hah!], see-through fire-escape style stair in the tower. If you have a fear of heights, don’t even think of trying it – Annette turned back after a couple of flights. I decided to face my fear, and climbed all the way to the top.   Going up wasn’t too bad because you don’t need to look at your feet, but coming down my legs wobbled with each step. I tried not to look at my feet because I could see through the steel steps all the way down to the bottom, but hanging onto the railing taking it slowly and carefully one step at a time (I must’ve looked very funny LOL), and trying to ignore the kids running down past me,  I made it down.  I was so terrified I didn’t even think of using my camera.

In retrospect I’m glad I climbed to the top because the view was fantastic – and by the way, the final flight was up a ladder!

San Gimignano

3. The challenge of getting about in the town of Vernazza, Cinque Terre .

Vernazza from the tower

Private cars are not allowed in the old town streets. We had to park at the top of the hill, and lug our suitcases, coats, snacks, and bottles of water over a kilometer to the main square where we met the woman renting us a room. She spoke no English. We understood by her gestures that we were to pick up our stuff and follow her.

First there was this flight of twenty stairs…

stairs in Vernazza

Then we walked along this passage…

"Street" in Vernazza

to another twenty steep stone stairs, which led to an even narrower passage than the one pictured above (you can’t be claustrophobic in these towns), up thirty steep stairs, and finally eight small steps which branched off to the front door. Once inside the house, we still had to climb another seventeen narrow stairs up to our room.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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10 Responses to Wandering – walking in Italy

  1. E fullstop says:

    Lovely! Can we go to Italy right now?

  2. OMG, this made me miss Italy SO much! I’ve climbed a bunch of those steps myself — and I agree, it’s exactly what allows you to stuff yourself with ricotta, pasta and pesto — and reward yourself with their lovely wines! Ciao, bella!!

  3. Dinah says:

    What great pictures! I loved your little tour — but the ladder in the San Gimignano tower made me lightheaded. Oh, dear. You are brave. Brava!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Its a pity I was so nervous climbing up the stairs that I didn’t even think of taking out my camera, so I don’t have a photo of that ladder Dinah. When I saw it I nearly wept, but I’d come all the way and I wasn’t going to be stopped by a ladder! 😀

  4. All that walking and climbing deserves a “Brava!” Great photos, Rosie. I wish I could click my heels – or hiking boots – together three times and land in Italy right now!

    • dearrosie says:

      I also wish I could go to Italy right now just by clicking my heels.

      I rode a cable car up to a ski slope yesterday (great hiking up there) and got that same awful feeling in the pit of my stomach as I had going down the stairs of the tower in San Gimignano. I was able to face my fear and get into the swinging chair only because Mr F was sitting next to me. 🙂

  5. adinparadise says:

    Well done to you for climbing up the tower, Rosie. I think we were too busy eating gelato. 🙂 What a fantastic view from the top.

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m so proud of myself for getting all the way to the top and down again (especially as I did it all by myself). I knew I’d be sorry if I turned back and because I don’t know when I’ll get to San Gimignano again I made myself do it.
      Did you go to the Museum attached to the Tower? Dante was there… 🙂

      Thanks for commenting Sylvia.

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