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.
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.
I have no idea how this woman climbed those stairs in these shoes…
but I’m glad to say my new hiking shoes were great – my feet said thank you even on the cobblestone streets
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).
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!
3. The challenge of getting about in the town of Vernazza, Cinque Terre .
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…
Then we walked along this passage…
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.