The sublime beauty of the Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto's Bell Tower (c)
Giotto's Bell Tower (c)
84.70 metres high and around 15 wide, the Giotto’s bell tower is one of the four main components of the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore. Lined with white, red and green marble, the majestic square-based bell tower, designed by Giotto, can be visited by climbing no less than 414 stairs up to the top, from where you can enjoy extraordinary views of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

The construction of the bell tower of Santa Maria del Fiore, overlooking the Piazza del Duomo, was started by Giotto in 1334 and continued after his death by Andrea Pisano. It was Francesco Talenti, creator of the high-level windows, who completed the works.

With a structure of four corner pilasters, its Florentine Gothic architecture, the polychrome marble cladding and the richness of the sculptural decoration in which some of the greatest Florentine masters of the 14th and 15th centuries participated, including Andrea Pisano, Donatello and Luca Della Robbia, are striking: 56 reliefs in two superimposed registers and 16 life-size statues of saints, prophets and pagan sibyls placed in the niches. The originals of all the sculptures are kept in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. There are 7 bells (the largest one is called Santa Reparata), all decorated with episodes from the life of Mary and with her name, coat of arms and emblems of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the City of Florence.

The ascent to the tower by walking up the 414 steps (there are no lifts) is an exciting experience: it opens up a wonderful view of the city and the hills around Florence and allows you to see Brunelleschi’s Dome from a unique perspective.