Giotto's bell tower

The Campanile di Giotto (Giotto's Belltower) at the Cathedral of Florence. (Photo by MojoBaron)

Giotto's Florence campanile is one of Italy's loveliest bell towers

The Campanile di Giotto.

To the right of the cathedral facade is what's known as Giotto's Bell Tower, even though that early Renaissance painter only designed and built the first two levels of it before his death in 1337.

Frankly, Giotto 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 (Donatello provided others)—before quitting the project in 1348. (Note that the reliefs and statues in the lower levels are all copies, the weather-worn originals now housed in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo behind the cathedral)

Francesco Talenti finished the job between 1350 and 1359—he exchanged the heavy solidness of the base for a lighter, airier effect, and by 1359 had finished what became known as "The Lily of Florence," a 277-foot-high pillar of marble pierced with slender windows and ringed by marble reliefs.

Climbing the campanile

If climbing the Duomo's dome wasn't enough for you, you can scale this baby, too, in 414 steps —and without the crowds the Dome's ascent draws.

What makes the 25-foot- (84m-) high 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 whole city of Brunelleschi's dome.

Tips & links

How long does Campanile di Giotto take?

Planning your day: Climbing either Giotto's bell tower (414 steps) or Brunelleschi's dome (463 steps) will take about an hour each. It should take about 20–30 minutes inside the adjacent Duomo itself, another 20–30 minutes in and around the Baptistery. The Duomo museum will eat up 45–90 minutes of your time, depending on how into it you get.

The last entry is taken 40 minutes prior to closing.

» Florence itineraries

Timing your visit

The ticket allows you to enter each sight two times, if you wish, but sadly is only good for the day you buy it, so you have to do them all at once.

If you happen to visit on a Sunday, arrive just after early lunch to hit the baptistery first—as it's open only 8:30am to 2pm—then do the cathedral once it reopens after morning mass.

Cumulative ticket

While the cathedral itself is free, everything else in the Duomo group are on a single, €15 cumulative ticket that covers all of the Opera del Duomo group sights: the Duomo itself, Cupola (cathedral dome) Baptistry, Campanile (Belltower), S. Reparata (excavations under the Duomo), and the newly repoened the Museo.

Sadly, the ticket is is only good for the day you buy it, so you have to do them all at once.

Note: All the sights in the Duomo group are also covered by the Firenze Card. » more

Campanile di Giotto tours

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Campanile di Giotto

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