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Right next to the Duomo is the beautiful Campanile, an 85-metre high construction that is sure to catch your eye from the first moment. And no wonder, since it is one of the most beautiful towers in Italy.
Construction on the tower began in 1334 and finally required the work of three different architects. The first of these was Giotto, but on his death in 1337 only the first of the tower's five levels had been completed.
After Giotto came Andrea Pisano, who took over the project and supervised the construction of the second level. Finally it was the architect Francesco Talenti who took over both the building of the top three levels and the remaining decoration of the tower.
Despite its height you may notice that the Campanile exudes lightness, a sensation created, above all, by the placement of the windows and the use of ornamentation.
While on the topic of decoration, some of the most important elements of the tower are the reliefs. On the first level, for example, you will find a series of hexagonal medallions decorated with scenes of Creation. On the second level of the first floor you will see that the medallions have now become rhomboid-shaped, with reliefs illustrating the planets, the virtues, the sacraments and the liberal arts. All these reliefs are the work of Pisano and Luca della Robbia.
Further up, on the second floor, you can see a decoration by Donatello and other artists based on the figures of the Prophets and the Sibyls.
You should bear in mind, however, that all the reliefs that are currently displayed on the tower are mere copies, and if you want to see the originals you will have to visit the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Visitors also have the opportunity to climb to the top of the bell tower. Just remember there's no lift and the ascent will have to be made on foot via a staircase of 414 steps. The views, however, are well worth the effort, so, in our opinion it's an opportunity not to be missed.
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