Giotto’s Belltower

One of the most famous symbols of Florence


The bell tower of Santa Maria del Fiore was started by Giotto in 1334. Its construction was carried out after the death of Giotto by Andrea Pisano and finished in 1359 by Francesco Talenti, who created its upper windows. It boasts extremely rich sculptural decoration including 56 relief works in two registers and its niches host 16 life-size statues created by Florentine masters from the 1300s and 1400s, including Andrea Pisano, Donatello and Luca Della Robbia.

Giotto's Belltower - Credit: Neil

On the façade facing the Baptistery, you can see a depiction of the creation of man and woman, a representation of the first human labour and depictions of several Biblical figures inventing important human activities (pasture, music, metallurgy, wine). In the upper register, you’ll see seven planets, beginning with Jupiter in the northern corner.
On other sides, there is the Foundation of Astrology, Medicine, Weaving and other scientific and technical activities. In the upper southern register, you’ll find the theological and cardinal virtues. To the east, there are the liberal arts of the Trivium and Quadrivium. On the northern side, you can appreciate a depiction of the seven sacraments. The statues in the niches represent the patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel as well as pagan Sybilles. The originals of all the tower’s sculptural works are currently hosted at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore - Credit: Rutger Blom

Cover image credit: Shawn Harquail

An astonishing city of art, fashion and tradition
If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is a treasure trove of art with an astonishing contemporary vibe. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or to get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the ...