Since we couldn't really afford to visit the entire duomo, we decided to pick one thing - Giotto's campanile. It costs 6 Euros to visit the campanile (vs. 8 Euros for the dome) and it's only 6 m shorter than the dome, and much less crowded. The campanile was designed by Giotto, the duomo's second "Master", and construction of the belltower began in 1334. When Giotto died in 1337 he was replaced by Andrea Pisano, who in turn died in 1348 and was replaced by Francesco Talenti. The latter supervised the completion of the 85 m tall campanile in 1359.
There are 414 steps to climb to reach the very top of the campanile (no elevator) and some are not exactly easy to manoeuvre, but the view from the top is totally worth the effort! It's also possible to rest up on some of the levels as you're going up and take a look at the city through the tower's famous Gothic windows. Of course the area at the very top is fenced in, but it's still quite easy to take good pictures. We went early in the morning to beat the crowds and got to see Florence in the morning mist - the city looked so pretty from up there!
The campanile is open daily from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm.
What is it?
Adjacent to the Duomo, the Giotto Tower offers some of the best views of Florence, as well as great close-up photo opportunities for Duomo shots. Be warned though - it's 414 steps to the top! (but totally worth it)
The Gothic campanile which rises on the right of the Duomo was begun by Giotto in 1334 and finished at the end of the 14th century bhy Pisano, Talenti and others. It stands 84m tall and is entirely decorated in hexagons and rhomboids and by niches with statues.
A 14th-century creation of green, white and pink Tuscan marble by Giotto, the Duomo's Campanile is in itself an attraction (and deserves a separate VT entry!). Unfortunately Giotto did not live long to see his creation come to fruition - he died before it was completed and the task of completing the bell tower fell into the hands of Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti. The reliefs on the Campanile by Pisano (picture 3) are replicas as the originals have been removed for posterity and are displayed at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
The Campanile is open to those who are strong enough to climb this 82-meter high behemoth (that's 414 steps) and offers great views of the city. Having had my fair share of tower-climbing (in Venice and Bologna), I thought I'll give this one a pass and instead went up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a bird's eye view of Florence.
Climbing up the Giotto Tower will allow you to enjoy some beautiful views, not only of the city but also of the Duomo. And this way you will climb up fewer steps, since the tower is slightly smaller than the Duomo.
If you suffer from vertigo (like i do), the Giotto Tower is also a good choice because the balcony is closed with an iron fence, that allows you to take all the photos you want, but makes you feel safe at the same time.
The "Cupolone" or huge dome remains, with the cathedral bell-tower, known as the "CAMPANILE DI GIOTTO", the most striking feature of any view of the city. Giotto, the famous painter and architect designed the tower, although at his death in 1337 only the lowest part was complete. Work was continued under Andrea Pisano (c. 1290-1349) and Francesco Talenti (active 1325-1369) who completed the structure repeating the decoration of marble relieved by windows.
It cost 6 euro for both climbs. I knew exactly which one - neither. I don't like heights. We had been talking to two young American girls in the restaurant the night before and they had climbed the Duomo. It sounded fascinating - you get a close up look at the painting in the dome - but the climb seemed quite claustrophobic and vertiginous - and I'm thinking no thanks.
So Matt set off to climb the pretty tower. All pink and white and green and glistening like a sugar cake. He found it easy enough to do. The bells started ringing while he was half way up but he said the noise didn't knock you around. And there is a little man way up the top - I suppose he rings for the ambulance if someone has a heart attack and stops people jumping or writing graffiti. Matt was thinking poor thing - he has to climb up every day. Let alone toilet breaks. Unless he has a bucket.
Anyway you pays your 6 euro, you climbs the tower, you looks at the view and then you climbs down. Then you've deserved a sit down coffee.
The Bell Tower was finished after the death of Giotto, the architect of the project.
6€ to climb more than 400 steps... You get to the top without breath, sweating (and maybe swearing too... :P), your legs trembling, and then... You're presented with an incredible view over Florence that makes it all worth it!
No more words needed, but I do raccomend to take water (since we forgot and it was terrible) and always remember that it's not an easy climbing before you pay your ticket.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo took 150 years to complete, but luckily the people of Florence had long managed the art of piecemeal contracting and assigned the construction of the Campanile or Bell-Tower to Giotto, who began work on this architectural marvel in 1334. Giotto died in 1337 and his work was finished by Pisano and Talenti, the former carving the bas-relief that features the creation of man and the planets at the base of the Campanile. You can climb to the top of the 84.7 m tower, but be aware that the only way up is the 414 steps - no elevator here!
The Bell Tower (Campanile) is 82m high and one of the most beautiful in Italy. For certain sum of money you can climb to the top and admire the wonderful view of the city.
The Tower is covered in white, green and red marble. It was designed by Giotto in 1334, but finished by Andrea Pisano.
You can't really get lost in Florence because, "Oh look! There's the Duomo." So if you don't have a map, don't worry, it'll find you.
It's free to enter and it's just as wonderful inside as it is out, but it costs to climb to the Dome for the views. I opted to climb the Campanile instead. Here's how I see the choice of climbs:
Duomo (6 €) - wait in a much longer line, view Brunelleschi's work close up, climb fewer steps (414), get a great view.
Campanile(6 €) - shorter or no line, climb more steps, get a great view with the Duomo in it.
Either way you are getting a workout and paying the same price. I chose the Campanile because there was absolutely no line and I was actually alone going most of the way up. There was only a handful of other people at the top with me and I really enjoyed the quiet. And the view was totally worth it. There were lots of places to stop and stretch along the way if you are at all claustrophobic. And if it happens that you can't quite make it to the top, at least you have plenty of viewing opportunities along the way.
Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337) left a pioneering legacy in painting and architecture which influenced European art throughout the Renaissance. His monumental figures established a clean break with the more graceful Byzantine artforms of his time.His greatest achievements were in the representation of space , placing the featured subjects in proper perspective to the background scene.
After many years of painting frescoes in churches all over Italy, he was commissioned in 1334 at the age of 67 to design a belltower for the adjacent duomo. His design incorporated the multiple colors in the adjacent church so that the tower appears "painted". As seen in the second image, the two structures appear as one. The exterior was composed of white marble from Carrara, green marble from Prato, and red marble from Siena. Only the first level was comleted prior to his death.
Andrea Pisano completed the second story and was succeeded by Francesco Talenti in 1848. Pisano had created the south doors of the baptistry adjacent prior to this commission. The first level contains a double row of bas-relief sculptures depict the history of mankind with panels devoted to the planets, the virtues, the sciences and arts, and the sacraments. The second level (image 3)overseen by Pisano contains statues set in niches, a series of prophets and political figures.
The top 3 levels (by Talenti)(image 4 ) incorporate the principles of perspective -each is taller than the one below in a ratio allowing all the seen as equal height when view from below. Talenti built a rooftop terrace rather than the planned spire, a radical departure from current architectural practise, and substituted large vertical windows making the entire structure more delicate. It is a tribute to Giotto that his original plans were carried out by two other masters with minimal alteration ( other than the spire), creating one of the most enduring monuments to the Italian Renaissance.
Giotto spent the last three years of his life designing the Duomo’s “Tuscanized Gothic” campanile, or bell tower, so its often referred to simply as Giotto’s Tower.
The tower is comprised of the same three colors as the cathedrale and is is about 20 feet shorter than the dome. The bas-reliefs decorating its slender exterior are copies of works by Andrea Pisan, Francesco Talenti, Lucca della Robbia, and Arnoldi (the originals are in the Duomo Museum).
Campanile was designed in 1334 by Giotto. But could be finished in 1359, 22 years after his death. It's 85m high and has got one of the best views of Florence. Also you can take Duomo's nice photos there too. It has got three floors and climbing there is really tiring. Fee is 6 euro.