When we finally arrived at the top of Giotto's Campanile, we thought we'd reached the most exciting part of the whole experience. But not so!
Oh, don't get me wrong, after climbing four hundred and fourteen narrow, dark, steep steps, all the while squeezing past the people who were trying to make their way down, the view we earned from the slender terrace at the top of the tower was magnificent (and scary too for those like me who suffer from vertigo!).
But the real thrill came later, when we'd descended the first flight of stairs to the first landing beneath the summit, and the bells of the tower suddenly began ringing to announce an Easter function over at the Cathedral. To say it was loud doesn't do justice to the sound of the seven huge bells tolling just above our heads (the biggest of which, il Campanone, is three centuries old, and is 2 meters in diameter, 2.10 meters tall, and weighs 5385 kilograms). It was so loud that the entire tower shook and vibrated, a somewhat disconcerting experience when you're still far above ground and dizzy from vertigo (me again!). In a brief moment of lucidity, I remembered that my camera has a nifty video function, and I manged to take a tiny recording of the event (shaking due to the sound waves, of course).
Imagine this symphony of bells played for a good long time, directly above your head and at considerably greater decibels, just minutes after you've climbed up 414 steps to the summit of a 84.75 meter high bell tower. I think good old Giotto and his work crew probably had a laugh at my faintness of heart.