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Campanile of Piazza del Duomo, Florence

The campanile is the cathedrals belfry. One of Italy's msot beautiful medieval towers, it was designed by Giotto, the period's most accomplished painter, and adorned with relief and statues by Donatello, Luca della Robbia, and other leading Renaissance sculptors.

The tower was begun in 1334 under the guidance of Giotto, then employed as the city's capo maestro or "Master of works". He completed only the first of the tower's five stories before his death in 1337. Work subsequently proceeded in two stages, the first under Andrea Pisano, who built the second story up to the level of the first pair of twin windows (1337-1342), and then Francesco Talenti completed the remaining three storeis and their distinctive windows, from 1348 to 1359. The different work of the three architects is patently clear.

The completed Campanile's is 275-foot high and has 414 steps. A climb to the top of the tower is rewarded with a sensational view of the city.

Last Revised October 9, 2007

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