Duomo and Campanile

Duomo and Campanile Florence

Next to the Duomo is the Campanile: the clocktower. When the Arno again flooded the square in front of Santa Reparata in 1333, the old tower is heavily damaged. One year later, Giotto, the painter aptly referred to by Vasari as ‘the father of painting’, is commissioned to design a new tower. Vasari accurately describes how the foundations for this tower are laid, but he fails to mention that quite quickly the Campanile began to sag during construction. Giotto was a painter who could make designs on paper, but constructions were a different thing altogether. Rumours even had it that the painter died of shame in 1337. Giotto’s design is based on the gothic tip of the Freiburg cathedral.

Campanile Florence


When Giotto passes away, Andrea Pisano takes over. First he fortifies the foundations with a one-and-a-half metre wall. He then constructs the second part of the tower above the ‘pedestal‘. He had already crafted the reliefs surrounding the base of Giotto. Now that he was appointed the capomaestro of the Campanile, he adds a second row of reliefs above it (Wikipedia reliefs Andrea Pisano). For the second part above the pedestal, Pisano changes Giotto’s windows into a number of recesses to house statues. The statues including some famous examples of Donatello and of course by Pisano himself. Statues we will later see at the Opera del Duomo. The Florentines were not particularly happy with the sculptor’s work, as Andrea used all kinds of motifs from Venice and Siena. This eventually led to him being discharged from the project.

Campanile top section

Francesco Talenti, a true Florentine, was an architect. For his design of the top section, Talenti fell back on the original plans by Gioto. For instance, the gables, the rotated plinths at the windows, the bifore and trifore windows were clearly influenced by Giotto’s plan. The point that Giotto had in mind was never realised after Talenti had completed his work in 1359. It was no longer feasible, as Vasari put it, ‘because this is something old-fashioned and German, modern architects refused to do it and just left it like this.’

Campanile top section Florence

Portal Campanile        Sculpture

Portal Campanile Florence
photos: Yair Haklai and sculpture Jebulon

Campanile interior       The other side

Campanile interior  Florence
photos: Sailko and Basker Thodla

Read more about the Campanile? Wikipedia

Continuation Florence day 1: Baptistery and Piazza Duomo