Giotto’s Campanile, Florence, Italy

The Giotto’s Campanile, Florence, Italy is a freestanding campanile or bell tower that is part of the buildings that comprise the Florence Cathedral located on the Piazza del Duomo. The tower is a primary example of the Gothic architecture of Florence. Giotto became the Master of Works of the cathedral in 1334. He focused on designing and building the bell tower to go along with the cathedral. In his plan, he used an exterior configuration of colored marble.

The tower is slight in structure standing on a square with sides of over 47 feet. It is 277 feet tall and is supported by four many-sided buttresses at each corner. The four vertical lines of the tower are traversed by four horizontal lines, so the tower is separated into five levels.

Giotto's Campanile, at the Florence Cathedral, in Florence, Italy.Because of Giotto’s efforts on the Campanile, he has become known as one of the founders of Italian Renaissance architecture. Andrea Pisano continued building the tower using Giotto’s plan. He added a second façade which has decorated panels to Giotto’s lower level. During the Black Death in 1348, building of the tower stopped. Francesco Talenti, who replaced Pisano, constructed the three top levels, including large windows. The bell tower was completed in 1359. He did not include the spire that had been designed by Giotto. Visitors can climb the 414 steps to reach the top to view Florence and the Tuscany hills surrounding the town.

The Campanile has seven bells. They vary in size, tone and age. The Campanone is the largest bell. The Misericordia is the mercy bell. Other bells include Annunziata, Apostolica, Mater Dei or God’s Mother Bell, L’Immacolata, and L’Assunta.

The arts on the Campanile are copies as the original art was removed during the 1960s. They are displayed in the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, which is located behind the cathedral. The hexagonal panels on the lower levels represent the history of man as inspired by Genesis. On the second level are four statues in niches. Each was sculpted during different time periods. The upper three levels were constructed by Francesco Talenti, who was the Master of Works from 1348 until 1359. Each of these levels is larger than the one below it. Each extends beyond the previous one in every measurement so that, while each level is different in size, all the levels look as if they are the same in size. The windows are vertical, and that opens up the walls. Talenti included a projecting terrace instead of a spire.


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