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!
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