It may come as no surprise that life is not too bad* when you live it in Florence, Italy. And one of the 4879** things we absolutely adore about this wonderful Renaissance city is that there are always so many great things to do in Florence.
This Sunday afternoon, we decided to do as many locals do and go for a nice ‘passeggiata’ (stroll) around Florence.
We meandered along the narrow cobblestone paths, and paused in the piazzas to soak up the wonderful relaxed atmosphere.
Now, looking at a Florence map you may not always see that all roads seem to spiral out from Florence’s central Cathedral or, ‘il Duomo’. And so it is that walking through the streets of Florence it is almost inevitable that you will navigate towards Florence’s biggest must-see sight.
The Cathedral itself is comprised of the main Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery of St. John and Campanile di Giotto – the stunning bell tower.
With a diameter of just 14.45 meters (47.41 ft), the tower reaches up to the Tuscan sky to a great height of 84.7 meters (277.9 ft).
With five levels of spiralling, ever-narrowing sets of stairs, it is not only the view that is breath-taking!
It was in 1334 that the first stone was laid in what was to become a dramatic and long-lasting building process. The Master of Works of the Duomo itself (Arnolfo di Cambio) had died some 32 years prior when the bell tower designer, famed painter Giotto di Bondone, began realising the impressive geometric design he had been chosen to create.
The tower, as with the Duomo, is constructed from white Carrara marble, red marble from Siena and Prato’s green marble.
Designed to perfectly match the Duomo, the bell tower was only one level tall when Giotto passed away a mere three years into the building. Andrea Pisano followed on after Giotto’s death in meticulously creating the tower to Giotto’s design.
With the Black Death causing works to be put on hold for some time, it was Francesco Talenti who followed on from Pisano to complete the tower. He was not so devoted to the Giotto plan, wrapping up the building by around 37 meters with the omission of the last stretch.
And once you’re half way up the fourth flight, you’re kinda grateful for that actually!
The main part of the Florence Duomo is part of our The Original Florence Walk highlights of Florence tour.
Artviva offer tours and events in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more. We also have private tours that cater to your every desire from Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond.
* radical understatement
**this is just a rough estimate