Tower – Campanile, Florence, Italy

The Campanile, also known as Giotto’s Tower, rises 270 feet. The tower was begun in the 1300s by the painter Giotto while the cathedral was still incomplete. Giotto sought to build the campanile as an independent, symbolic structure. It served as a symbol for a city renowned for technical perfection of its artists and craftsmen. As a sort of beacon, it was visible from every part of Florence – serving as an ideal axis.

Sculptural embellishments include four statues of prophets done by Donatello. Near ground level are several reliefs depicting Bible stories.

When Giotto died in 1337 only the first part of the tower was completed, up to the hexagonal panels carved by Andrea Pisano to Giotto’s design. Work stopped for two years, between 1348 and 1350. Following the Black Death the twoer was completed in 1359 by Francesco Talenti, a talented builder and designer of the large windows on the upper levels. The use of the two-light windows in the Sience style and the three-light windows with tympana give an elegant Gothic appearance without sacrificing the classical design.

After a climb of over 400 steps a large projecting terrace functions as a panoramic roof. This feature of Talenti’s design replace a spire in Giotto’s original plan.