By the time we were finished with the cathedral’s baptistry it was close to our reserved time for climbing the dome and we got in line on the cathedral’s north side. As we were standing around waiting to get in I realized how much better the reservation system was than the old system where you just got in line and waited to climb the dome. Under the old system your only chance of going up the dome without having to wait two hours (or more) was to show up really early before the dome opened. With the reservation system there is a chance that you might not be able to get the time slot you wanted the most but you’re standing in line a lot less. After a little while the cathedral staff started letting us in and we began our climb. Before you get up to the top you actually get an up-close view of the art on the underside of the dome, which is pretty neat, and you pass through a few rooms that show some of the tools used to build the structure. To reach the top of the dome you have to climb the space between the inner and outer domes and the passageways are narrow at several points but when you finally arrive at the top you step out to sweeping views of Florence. It was getting dark when we got to the top of the dome and we got to take in the nighttime view of the city. The narrow lanes of Florence were like little ribbons of light criss-crossing the city and connecting its various squares and historic buildings. When we had climbed the cathedral’s bell tower earlier in the day we had seen the view of Florence while it was still bright outside, so our schedule had worked out such that we got to experience both the daytime and nighttime views of the city.