In 1334, Giotto started the cathedral bell tower (clad in the same three colors of marble gracing the Duomo) but completed only the first two levels before his death in 1337. He was out of his league with the engineering aspects of architecture, and the tower was saved from falling in on itself by Andrea Pisano, who doubled the thickness of the walls. Andrea, a master sculptor of the Pisan Gothic school, also changed the design to add statue niches -- he even carved a few of the statues himself -- before quitting the project in 1348. Francesco Talenti finished the job between 1350 and 1359 -- he exchanged the heavy solidness of the base for a lighter, airier effect.
The reliefs and statues in the lower levels -- by Andrea Pisano, Donatello, and others -- are all copies, the weatherworn originals now housed in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo . You can climb the 414 steps to the top of the tower. What makes the 84m-high (276-ft.) view different from what you get out of the more popular climb up the cathedral dome, besides a cityscape vista, are great views of the Baptistery as you ascend and the best close-up shot in the entire city of Brunelleschi's dome.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Campanile di Giotto (Giotto's Bell Tower)Locals have answered 73 questions about Florence.
Ask Florence Locals about Campanile di Giotto (Giotto's Bell Tower)
- Highly Recommended 2010