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Giotto’s Campanile (Campanile di Giotto), Florence

Overview

Giotto's Campanile at sunset
Giotto's Campanile at sunset

Giotto's Campanile
Giotto's Campanile

Photo by Sailko on Wikimedia Commons

Giotto's Campanile (Campanile di Giotto) is also known as Giotto's Bell Tower. The citizens of the city of Florence wanted the largest bell tower to be built for the Duomo, and the project for the campanile was assigned to Giotto di Bondone, who was 67 years old at the time. The works began on July 19, 1334 and lasted from 1334 to 1359. Before Giotto's death 1337 only the first level was completed, but his work was continued by his assistant, Andrea Pisano, the sculptor who created the southern doors of the Baptistery, and then by architect Francesco Talenti, who added the last three levels to the bell tower, completing it in 1359. Through this project Giotto was considered, together with Brunelleschi and Alberti, one of the creators of the Italian Renaissance architecture. The bell tower has a distinctive style of early Italian Renaissance with influences of European Gothic style. The construction, in stone and marble, looks aerodynamic, with a width of 14.5 meters and a height of 85 meters. It is square and has five levels separated by horizontal decorative strips, with the corners marked by buttresses. A narrow staircase with 414 stone steps and narrow windows leads to the bell chamber. There is a stark difference between the levels built by the three architects. The first level, built by Giotto, had geometric patterns, and was decorated with rectangular pieces of stone, hexagonal panels with reliefs by Andrea Pisano, Nino Pisano, and Luca della Robbia, and diamond-shaped lozenges, with reliefs by Andrea Pisano, Nino Pisano, Gino Micheli da Castello and Maso di Banco. The second level was built by Andrea Pisano. While he followed Giotto's plans, he also made some changes and replaced the reliefs with 16 statues in niches, 4 on each side, representing St. John the Baptist, prophets, and sibyls. The statues are attributed to Andrea Pisano, Maso di Banco, Donatello and Nanni di Bartolo. The statues were replaced in 1965 with replicas, and the originals were moved to Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The three top levels were built by Francesco Talenti. The style is Gothic, more slender, elegant than the first two levels. He added large, vertical windows opening up the walls. On the third and forth levels, each side of the tower has two pairs of windows, while on the last level each side has only one large window with 3 openings. Above each widow is a vault framed with rich, geometric ornaments of stone. Francesco Talenti also added the terrace at the top of the tower. The exterior is covered in geometric patterns of white marble from Carrara, green marble from Prato and red marble from Siena, following the colors and style used for the cathedral's exterior.
Giotto's Campanile
Giotto's Campanile

Photo by Mac9 on Wikimedia Commons

Giotto's Campanile different levels
Giotto's Campanile different levels

Photo by Wil Gipman on Wikimedia Commons

First level with hexagonal panels and diamond-shaped lozenges;second level with niches with statues
First level with hexagonal panels and diamond-shaped lozenges with reliefs, and second level with niches with statues

Photo by JoJan on Wikimedia Commons

The statues in the niches on the east side
The statues in the niches on the east side

Photo by Yair Haklai on Wikimedia Commons

The top three levels
The top three levels

Photo by G.dallorto on Wikimedia Commons