Florence and the Never Ending Stairs

Name: Kim Le
Major: Art and Design
Hometown: Hochimin, Vietnam
Destination: Florence, Italy
Institution: TU in Italy: Lorenzo de’Medici, Florence campus

It is impossible to find a one story house or building in the historic center of Florence. Most buildings range from old to very old.  Originally, in the interest of defense and population, people in Florence demanded four to five stories buildings with impressive defense systems–thankfully these systems are no longer needed. Together with the old ages came the lack of elevators, and even with the elevators available, in most buildings the elevators are only for residences (I guess we are not counted even though my school’s classrooms are in there. What a pity). So, living in Florence, I have so much fun with stairs that I just want everyone to come and enjoy them (misery loves companies, or so I’ve heard).

Stairs in Florence, Italy

The intimitating stairs in Kim’s apartment building in Florence, Italy.

Yes, you can see it. A long, beautiful staircase that guarantees to kill any enthusiasm anyone can have after dragging their big, 50 lbs suitcases and backpacks up to the third floor. The first day I met Florence, I had a long and interesting conversation about life and the philosophical aspect of masochism, as well as the need of some people (me!)to travel with a 6 lb laptop and other things together with a 52 lb suitcase while dragging said bags up the overly narrow stair. Needless to say, I realized the beauty of elevators and swore an undying love with them forever. To be fair, it is not that horrible when I just need to carry myself up everyday, and is a breeze when I need to go down the stairs. Other examples of long, narrow stairs including three of my school buildings, one actually has a tiny elevator we could use, though if it moved a bit faster people could get to class on time without being exhausted. Another type of stairs, though, is the stairs to go up on churches and historical buildings. A good example is the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, which offers a great view, though the way up might be a bit too long. The Duomo and the Bell Tower, two very famous attractions of Florence, also offer fantastic views at the cost of nearly 400 steps.

Palazzo Vecchio stairs, Florence Italy

Palazzo Vecchio stairs, Florence Italy

Strangely enough, I think I will miss Florence’s stairs when I return home. Since there is no way to escape stairs if one wants to fully experience Florence.  In fact, the stairs are probably part of her charm, I guess looking up at the never ending stairs is now my hobby, as long as I do not have to climb them. Again.