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Climb up the campanile for a great view!
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.
The Campanile (bell tower) is located next to the Duomo and is also made from the same pink, white and green marble.
It is 82 metres high and work commenced on it back in the mid 1300's.
For around 6 euros you can climb the 414 steps to the top, for fabulous views across the city and the neighboring Duomo.
Best to climb after a quick espresso - you will need the caffeine to help propel you to the top - those stairs are a killer!!
- Historical Travel
The Campanile is a great alternative to climbing the dome of the Duomo, if like me, you didn't fancy waiting in the 3hour plus queue to get inside.
The Campanile stands beside the Duomo at 85m tall, which is just 6m shorter than the dome of the Duomo, and the views from the top are just as good. Entry tickets are also cheaper.
The Campanile, designed by Giotto in 1334, was completed in 1359 (22years after his death), and remains the second tallest building in Florence.
There are several stages on the way up, in which you can take a breather from the climb, and each offers stunning panoramic views of the city, as well as views of the floors above and below through large grid sections.
It is open 8.30am - 7.30pm daily.
Giotto's Bell Tower ( 4 Photos)
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.
Campanile - The Bell Tower
The bell tower (campanile) was designed by Giotto more as a decoration for the square than for practical use. The marble pieces for the tower were brought from different areas of Italy: white marble from Carrara, green from Prato, and pink from Siena. The bell tower is a little bit shorter than the dome.
A wonderful panorama on the city can be enjoyed if you are brave enough to climb the 414 steps to its terrace.
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Climbing and the View
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.
The Giotto Tower
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.
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The Campanile or the Duomo - or both?
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.
Campanile di Giotto
Beside the Duomo stands the elegant, square Campanile (bell tower), designed by Giotto in 1334 but not completed until 22 years after his death. Most of the original sculptures and reliefs are preserved in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Although at 84.7 metres the Camoanile is not as high as BBrunelleschi;s Dome, it nevertheless affords spectacular views of the Florence rooftops from its summet.
The Campanile does not have a lift - it has 414 steps instead!
Giotto's Bell Tower
It is a splendid example of Gothic Florentine architecture for the elegance of its structure. The marble panelling are exquisite. The bell-tower was begun in 1334 by Giotto and after his death, the work was carried on by Andrea Pisano and later completed in 1359 by Franceso Talenti. It is 84.70 meters high and stands on a base 14.45 meters high; from the terrace at the top, which can be reached by climbing 414 steps (there is a small entrance fee about 7euros), dont forget your walking shoes! the panorama on top of the bell tower embraces the whole town and the surrounding hills.
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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.
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Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile)
Of course quickly named as The Campanile, as all towers in Italy, the correct name would be Giotto's Bell Tower, being one of the landmarks of Florence by itself, many recognizing the Duomo only by association with this nice bell tower. In 1334 Giotto was nominated as the succesor of the first master of works of the Duomo (Arnolfo di Cambio). At that time Giotto was 67 years old, and unfortunatelly died 3 years later, when only the lower floor of the bell tower was completed. Three marbles were used: white marble from Carrare, green marble from Prato and red marble from Siena. Square-shaped based, the bell tower stands a whopping 84 meters in height. The acces is made from next to the rear entry of the Duomo - and not from within the Duomo!. It is a long way up to the top, visitors having to climb 414 steps but the view of Florence from the most possible height on the ground is rewarding.
The Campanile is seperate from the actual Duomo, and is known in English, simply as the bell tower. It is said to be the most magnificent bell-tower in the world, and you won't get an argument from me. It stands over 290 feet high, and provides the best view of the Duomo.
I doubt there exist such a beautiful bell tower elsewhere in the world, it is Giotto's project who was the master of all masters. Unfortunetelly, until his death in 1337, he built the bottom part of the campanile only. The bottom part is composed of two closed stories decorated with hexagonal and rhomboid reliefs by Andrea Pisano, Luca della Robbia and Alberto Arnoldi on Giotto's designes.
The two upper stages were finished by Andrea Pisano, who took Giotto's place. Finaly, between 1350 and 1359, Francesco Talenti finished the bell tower by adding two levels. On the top, of the 81 metres high tower, he create the large terrace supported by small arches and with an openwork balustrade.
Giotto designed this Gothic bell tower in 1334 and it was completed 22 years later. It is dressed in multicolored Tuscan marble - white, green and pink. Just 6 euro and 441 steps to the top :-) and you'll get to enjoy a close view of the Brunelleschi's cupola and great views of the city.
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