LivingTravelThe campanile in Florence

The campanile in Florence

The Campanile, or Bell Tower, in Florence, is part of the Duomo complex, which includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) and the Baptistery. After the Duomo, the Campanile is one of the most recognizable buildings in Florence. It is 278 feet tall and offers great views of the Duomo and Florence.

The construction of the Campanile began in 1334 under the direction of Giotto di Bondone. The Campanile is often called Giotto’s Bell Tower, even though the famous Renaissance artist only lived to see the completion of his lower story. After Giotto’s death in 1337, work on the Campanile resumed under the supervision of Andrea Pisano and later Francesco Talenti.

Like the cathedral, the bell tower is sumptuously decorated in white, green and pink marble. But where the Duomo is expansive, the Campanile is slim and symmetrical. The Campanile was built on a square plan and has five different levels, the lower two being the most intricately decorated. The bottom story features hexagonal panels and diamond-shaped “rhombus” reliefs depicting the creation of man, the planets, the virtues, the liberal arts, and the sacraments. The second level is decorated with two rows of niches in which there are statues of prophets from the Bible.

Donatello designed several of these statues, while others are attributed to Andrea Pisano and Nanni di Bartolo. Note that the hexagonal panels, rhombus reliefs, and statues in the Campanile are copies; The originals of all these works of art have been moved to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo for preservation, as well as for a closer look.

Visiting the Campanile

By visiting the Campanile, you can begin to see views of Florence and the Duomo as you approach the third level. The third and fourth floors of the bell tower are set with eight windows (two on each side) and each of them is divided with curved Gothic columns. The fifth story is the tallest and is set with four tall windows each divided into two columns. The main story also features seven bells and an observation deck.

Note that there are 414 steps to the top of the Campanile. No elevator

Location: Piazza Duomo in the historic center of Florence.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, September 8 and December 25

Information: website; Tel. (+39) 055 230 2885

Admission: a single ticket, valid for 24 hours, includes all the monuments in the cathedral complex: Giotto’s bell tower, Brunelleschi’s dome, the Baptistery, the crypt of Santa Reparata inside the cathedral and the historical museum. The price as of 2017 is 13 euros.

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