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.
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.
Giotto's Tower stands next to the Duomo and is open to climb to the top. Their are 50 less steps then the Duomo and it offers similar views. Also, it allows you to view the Duomo from the air. The stairs get narrow at times, but there are plenty of opportunities to rest...which is important when you have a 6 year old on your shoulders for the climb. I think it was about 6 euros to climb.
Do not leave Florence before you climb to the top of the Duomo! On our recent trip my family of five included my 79 year old mother. She trained for this trip by walking every day, and was up to 1.5 miles a day by the time we left. Anyway she figured that she would try the climb of 400+ steps thinking that if she couldn't make it she could always rest and then go back down. See the picture from the top (looking down on the Campanile).
P.S. Mom still talks about the great view from the top of the Duomo.
Ornately decorated this is the Duomo's bell tower. It contains reliefs and ornate marble work. The marble is pink, green and white and from the local Tuscan quarries. It stands at about 280ft tall and is shorter than the dome. You can climb a long staircase to a viewing deck on top where you can get stunning views of the city below.
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)
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.
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