GiottoCampanile


Giotto’s Campanile

Giotto di Bondone succeeded Arnolfo di Cambio (the first Master of the Cathedral Works)
upon his death in 1334, and as the famous painter and architect was 67 years old, he concentrated
his energy on the Campanile. He created a design that became a showpiece of Florentine Gothic style.

The Bell Tower was designed by Giotto to match the polychromic character of the Cathedral
designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, and is a masterly display of his architectural skills. It is covered
with colored marble in geometric designs that make it appear to be painted. Giotto completed the
lower floor with its external marble before he died. He is considered to be one of the founding
fathers of Italian Renaissance Architecture (with Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti).

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Architectural Detail

Mullioned Windows

East Side Sculptures
 

Door Detail

Climbing the Stairs

Florentine Scenics

Campanile in the Morning Light

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Campanile_5963


Campanile 5963

The Campanile and the 14th c. facade of Santa Maria del Fiore
are bathed in the golden light of a perfect morning in Tuscany.

More images in the early morning light are shown at the bottom of the page.

The Campanile is built with several distinct stages. The lower sections below the windows contain
 hexagonal panels and diamond-shaped lozenges. The Hexagonal Panels on the lowest level depict the
History of Mankind (based on Genesis), including the mechanical arts, the creative arts and the liberal arts.
The Lozenges are in a different style, with the marble in a background of blue tin-glazed pottery called Majolica.
The seven Lozenges on each side depict the Planets, the Virtues, the Liberal Arts and the Sacraments.

The next level up contains four statues in niches on each side. The West side contains Gothic statues
 by Andrea Pisano (1343), the South side contains four Prophets dating between 1334 and 1341
in a more Classical style. The four prophets from the East side (shown further below) date
from 1408 to 1421, and the four statues on the North side were from 1420 to 1435.
The level above the statues contains blind niches as a decorative feature.

The top three levels contain the mullioned windows and were
built by Francesco Talenti between 1348 and 1359.
Atop the Campanile is a machicolated terrace.

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008
795 x 1290 (509 KB)

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008cM


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008c M
1112 x 1500 (723 KB)

Shot from the entrance to the Piazza San Giovanni,
these images show the spatial relationships between
the Campanile (right), Duomo (left), and the Dome, as
well as detail around the Gothic mullioned windows..

Duomo_Campanile_Florence_4008detail


Duomo Campanile Florence 4008 detail
1465 x 1290 (728 KB)

Another detail crop showing a Gothic mullioned window.
Mullioned windows have vertical elements dividing the window.

More images that show the Dome from atop the Campanile are further below.
The fellow standing inside the mullioned window of the Campanile can provide scale.

Campanile_upperWindow_4736c


Campanile upper Window 4736c
(detail crop — no linked image)

The double-mullioned window of the upper stage.

CampanileDetail_DuomoFlorence_4013


Campanile Detail Duomo Florence 4013

Detail of the mullioned windows of the first two stages.
Each upper stage of the Campanile is progressively taller
as they get higher to offset the foreshortening effect you
see from below (when looked at from below, each
stage appears to be exactly the same height).

CampanileDetail_DuomoFlorence_4013c


Campanile Detail Duomo Florence 4013c
1500 x 1290 (552 KB)

This detail crop shows all of the elements around the mullioned windows on the first upper stage.

GiottoCampanile_4736


Giotto Campanile 4736

Shot on a dark and dreary day just before the sky opened up, I took this
when I was headed over to the Uffizi. The storm that came through Florence
hit just as I got into the Piazza della Signoria, so entering the Uffizi’s covered
line was pleasant, but except for visiting the museums (which rarely let me even
enter with my camera), there wasn’t a lot to do without walking in the rain,
so I decided that it was time to climb the Campanile’s 414 steps.
A little further below are images from that excursion.

GiottoCampanile_BrunelleschiDome_4736_90XL


Giotto Campanile Brunelleschi Dome 4736 4790 XL
1548 x 1200 (600 KB)

Composite will open in a second window.

Available as an XL Composite (3000 x 2325)

Giotto’s Campanile stands beside the 14th century facade of Santa Maria del Fiore.
On the right, the view down the nave to Brunelleschi’s Dome, a masterpiece of Renaissance
architecture and the largest masonry dome in the world, taken from the top window of the Campanile.

Campanile_Sculptures_4282


Campanile Sculptures 4282

The four sculptures on the East side of the Campanile (over the door):

The Beardless Prophet (Donatello); The Bearded Prophet (Nanni di Bartolo);
Abraham Sacrificing Isaac (Donatello and Nanni di Bartolo); Il Pensatore (The Thinker, Donatello)
All sculptures created 1408 to 1421. These are copies (the originals are in the Museum of the Duomo).

CampanileDoor_4782


Campanile Door 4782

CampanileDetail_DuomoFlorence_4290


Campanile Detail Duomo Florence 4290

The image to the left was taken during the rainstorm
which I mentioned, as I was about to ascend the tower.
The major difference in color of the marble is because it
is wet. The image above is an 819 x 1200 crop showing
more detail than the 653 x 1200 image to the left (which
is showing the whole door). More detail images below.

Campanile_DoorLunette_Hexagon_4290


Campanile Door Lunette Hexagon 4290
1082 x 1398 (561 KB)

A tight detail crop showing the lunette with the Agnus Dei carrying a Christian flag, and the lozenge
to the left of the door which represents the Chariot of Thespis (Theater) and is attributed to Andrea Pisano.

The lunette and the sculptures of the two Prophets and the Redeemer are also attributed to Andrea Pisano.

Campanile_DoorLunette_detail_4290


Campanile Door Lunette detail 4290
(no linked image)

A tight detail crop of the Agnus Dei in the lunette over the door to the Campanile.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Galleries with images on this page:

Florentine Churches: The Duomo
Florentine Scenery

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

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There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection
Some images are not yet uploaded. Contact Ron Reznick for these images.

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Campanile_Stairs_4784


Campanile Stairs 4784

Andrea Pisano had all sorts of problems with these stairs.
Because of the need to have a second staircase to three
rooms, the wall thickness had to be altered and the space
behind a window had to be altered as well. Notice how
small the opening is here (compare against the window
shown below). Much of this window is blocked, with the
unseen lower opening providing light to a room below.

Campanile_Stairs_4875


Campanile Stairs 4875

A shot taken from above, on the way back down, of
this same part of the stairs. Note the unusual shape
of the ceiling. The part on the upper left is the natural
shape expected from a continuation of the helical
staircase you see, but the odd shape in the upper
center is a hidden staircase to another room.

Campanile_Stairs_4869


Campanile Stairs 4869

I just had to show you this. These stairs are steep...

To the right, the view out of one of the mullioned windows.
It is raining pretty hard out there, so the view in the distance
is obscured by tons of water, but I thought the overall look
was pretty neat anyway, so here it is. Not your average
view, is it? It gets better as we go higher, and I can
avoid the cranes (plus, the rain let up somewhat).

MullionedWindow_View_4801


Mullioned Window View 4801

Stormy_day_inFlorence_4788


Stormy day in Florence 4788
1600 x 990 (475 KB)

The view south from atop the Campanile with Torre dei Visdomini and Torre dei Ricci in the foreground,
with the Palazzo Vecchio directly behind them in line (background). On the far left is Santa Croce,
and in the left center are the two medieval towers of the Bargello and Badia Fiorentina. The
11th century Torre dei Visdomini was built during the period of the Communes, when it
was necessary for a noble family to have a tower of refuge in case of attack. The
entrance to the tower was through an upper story wall of the attached house.
Later, the towers became houses themselves, and a street-level door
was added. The Torre dei Ricci is another of these towers, built
in the 11th century, and later turned into a tower-house (1250).

The Palazzo Vecchio is the crennelated, Romanesque town hall.
Designed in the late 13th c. by Arnolfo di Cambio, its 308 ft. tower
dominates the skyline. It was used by the Signoria (city government),
then as the palace of the Medici until 1549 when Cosimo moved to the
Pitti Palace and changed the name from Palazzo della Signoria to the “Old
Palace” (Palazzo Vecchio). It is decorated in a high Renaissance style.

The Bargello, now an Art Museum (since the late 19th c.), was the prison and
essentially the police station for hundreds of years. The oldest palazzo in Florence,
it was built in 1255 and expanded several times. Badia Fiorentina is an Abbey and Church.
Founded in 978 as a Benedictine Monastery on the site of the earlier church St. Stefano, it has
been an important part of Florentine life for over 1000 years. Its campanile is a Romanesque
tower with a Gothic upper section, built in 1330 to replace the one which the city tore down
when the monks refused to pay a tax that the Signoria imposed on them. Imagine that.

Santa Croce is the Pantheon of Florence and the largest Franciscan Church
in the world. There is an entire page on the art and monuments of Santa Croce.

 

BrunelleschiDome_4790


Brunelleschi Dome 4790
946 x 1290 (535 KB)

The view down the nave to Brunelleschi’s Dome seen earlier in the Composite with the Campanile.

BrunelleschiDome_4803M


Brunelleschi Dome 4803 M
1418 x 1550 (707 KB)

A close view of Brunelleschi’s Dome and the smaller dome over the Transept below right.

BrunelleschiDome_4806


Brunelleschi Dome 4806
1500 x 1065 (690 KB)

The view past Brunelleschi’s Dome southeast towards Santa Croce (top right).

Detailed information on Brunelleschi’s Dome is on the
Architectural Scenics, Sculptures and Interiors page

SanLorenzo_Storm_4811c


San Lorenzo Storm 4811c
(detail crop from San Lorenzo Storm 4811)

Just to give you an idea as to how much fun this can be...
Here is a shot into the teeth of the rainstorm, using a wide angle
lens to shoot to the north-northwest towards San Lorenzo. A bit wet.

Basilica_diSanLorenzo_4835c


Basilica di San Lorenzo 4835c
1346 x 1175 (685 KB)

I took a few shots in other directions (see below), then when the raindrops
started to get a bit smaller than cats and small dogs, I put the 85mm telephoto lens
on the camera and opened the aperture a little bit so I could shoot around the raindrops.

This is the Medici Chapel Dome and Campanile of Basilica di San Lorenzo.

Stormy_day_inFlorence_4817


Stormy day in Florence 4817
1350 x 990 (546 KB)

The southwest view. In the foreground is the Piazza
della Repubblica (site of the old Roman Forum). In the
background at top left are the enormous Pitti Palace and
Boboli Gardens, home of the Medici from 1549. Santo
Spirito is background center, and Seminario Maggiore
Arcivescovile with its library of medieval manuscripts.

Stormy_day_inFlorence_4821


Stormy day in Florence 4821
1338 x 990 (534 KB)

The south view, with Santa Croce at the left, the
Bargello and Badia Fiorentina center left, Palazzo
Vecchio at center right, the Porta San Niccolo in the
left center background and San Miniato al Monte and
Fort Belvedere in the distant background (on the hills).
Torre dei Ricci is in the foreground, at right center.

Bargello_BadiaFiorentina_4825


Bargello Badia Fiorentina 4825
1346 x 1175 (754 KB)

A closer view to the south, showing the Medieval Towers of the Bargello and Badia Fiorentina,
and the San Niccolo Gate Tower in the left background. Porta San Niccolo was built in 1324-27 by
Andrea Orcagna (Da Vinci’s teacher). It is the only Gate that was not reduced in height in the 1500s,
but it is no longer part of the walls as the walls have been torn down (late 19th c.). It was recently
restored and opened to the public as a tourist attraction. The arches you see were the rooms
used by the guards when they were on station. The merlons were restored in the 19th c.

The Bargello was the former Palace of the People (essentially a prison and police station).
Derived from the Latin bargillus (fortified tower), in the Middle Ages, Bargello was the name
given to the military captain who kept the peace, generally from a foreign city (the police chief).
Built in 1255 (and expanded several times), it is one of the oldest buildings in Florence (and the
oldest Palazzo). Its sparse styling was used by Arnolfo di Cambio as a model for the design
of the Palazzo Vecchio. It was converted to an Art Museum in 1865 and houses many of
the sculptures from the Grand Duke’s collections, such as Donatello’s David, and a
number of Gothic decorative art objects, paintings, polychrome terracotta, etc.

Badia Fiorentina was founded in 978 as a Benedictine Monastery and was one of the
most important buildings in medieval Florence. Built over the earlier church of St. Stefano,
the Abbey (Badia means Abbey) opened a Hospital in 1078, and operated vineyards as well.
The Campanile (bell tower) was built on an octagonal base in 1310-1330 to replace the one
which was destroyed by the city in 1307 to punish the monks for refusing to pay a city tax.
The Campanile is Romanesque at the base and Gothic in the upper sections.

PalazzoVecchio_FortBelvedere_4823


Palazzo Vecchio Fort Belvedere 4823
960 x 1290 (474 KB)

Views of Arnolfo diCambio’s tower (Torre d’Arnolfo, 1302) atop the Palazzo Vecchio from the top of the Campanile, with Fort Belvedere in the background. Note that machicolations and merlons are visible on the tower. The merlons are the Ghibelline style (swallow tail), which showed the Florentine support for the Holy Roman Emperor (Guelph (square) merlons were used on the Palazzo Vecchio below, which showed the change in support to the Pope). Machicolations were used to drop rocks and hot oil on attacker’s heads.

PalazzoVecchio_Tower_4841


Palazzo Vecchio Tower 4841

The difference in the light was caused by the storm.

The Torre d’Arnolfo incorporated the ancient tower of the Foraboschi family into its foundation, and the Palazzo was built atop the ruins of the Palazzo dei Fanti which belonged to the Uberti, who were banished from the city along with Dante and many Ghibellines and their successors, White Guelphs.

FortBelvedere_fromBoboli_5677


Fort Belvedere from Boboli 5677

The image above was taken from Boboli Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace across the Arno River.
I thought you might like a little closer look at the Fortezza di Santa Maria in San Giorgio del Belvedere.
Built for Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici by Bernardo Buontalenti to protect the city (and the Medici rulers),
it protected the Pitti Palace, held the treasury of the Medici, and was the final shelter for the Medici if the city
was attacked. Passages led to the Pitti Palace and to the Palazzo Vecchio through the Vasari Corridor.

SantaCroce_Storm_4846


Santa Croce Storm 4846
1359 x 990 (439 KB)

SantaCroce_Storm_4850


Santa Croce Storm 4850
1378 x 990 (401 KB)

The view to the Southeast, with Santa Croce on the right side of the frame. Behind it is the Arno River and
Ponte San Niccolo. In the left image, the tower (left center) is the Torre della Zecca Vecchia, the Mint Tower,
which was not only the Mint, but guarded Florence at the Arno. Executions used to be held there, and as
the condemned prisoners were led to the Piazza Piave, where the Tower is, they would stop at a little
outdoor chapel for a last prayer. That corner chapel is just beyond the bell tower at the left center of
the left image above, the Church of San Giuseppe, built in 1519 on the site of the 14th century
monastery (the Monastery of San Giuseppe). On the hill is the Sacred Heart Institute.

SantaCroce_Storm_4828


Santa Croce Storm 4828
1669 x 1020 (620 KB)

The Southeast view from the top of the Campanile. Beyond Santa Croce, you can see the River Arno.
Right are the remains of San Niccolo Gate (now just a tower as the walls have been demolished).
The background is the Oltrarno District (other side of the Arno) and the hills of San Miniato.

Torre San Niccolo was built in 1324, and was the only gate not reduced in size in the 1500s.
The open arches you can see were rooms occupied by guardsmen on watch at the Gate.

In the image above, you can see why I composed with the right side of Santa Croce out of frame
 in most of the other images. They had the entire right side of the facade obscured by scaffolding.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Florence Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Galleries with images on this page:

Florentine Churches: The Duomo
Florentine Scenery

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).

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There are 11 Galleries in the Photoshelter Florence Collection
Some images are not yet uploaded. Contact Ron Reznick for these images.

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Campanile_Sunset_4169


Campanile Sunset 4169

Sunset, my first day in Florence. I headed back over to the Piazza
to try to get a nice shot of the Campanile with a mauve sky behind it,
and maybe if I was lucky, the mauve light would hit the Duomo facade..
I didn’t count on the sense of humor of those pesky Tuscan clouds.
Just as I was rounding the corner in front of the Duomo the light,
which had been pretty nice while I was rapidly walking to
the Piazza del Duomo, fell off dramatically. I looked
to the west and saw that the light show was over.
That pesky cloud had parked in front of the sun.

I took the shot above anyway, after I walked a mile to get it.
It’s a good thing I took it... that was my only Florentine sunset.

Campanile_5932


Campanile 5932

My last morning in Florence dawned clear.
Was I pleased? You had better believe it!

I scooted out of the hotel and over to the Piazza
to get some shots of the Duomo and the Campanile
in morning light. Since I was determined to catch that
elusive “Golden Minute” on the Campanile, when the
light is perfect, I camped out about 15 minutes early
in the Piazza, and got a few shots just in case
   that darned cloud got in the way of the sun.

Campanile_5936


Campanile 5936

As you can see, the light, while nice, still
hasn’t started getting that golden character.
Notice how much darker the Campanile and the
Duomo have gotten since the shot to the left.
That is because the cloud I mentioned is
interfering with my well-laid plans.
This is not good. I’m worried.

I kept taking insurance shots
and watched that cloud heading east.
Go cloud. Go. You can do it. Keep going.

Campanile_5947


Campanile 5947

Eight minutes later. The light is starting to
gain character, and now I’m getting anxious.
That cloud has spread out a bit, and it continues
to block the sun. An obstreperous Florentine cloud.
Great. Just what I need. Go cloud... Go.

I kept moving around and trying different angles
and altering the angle of the camera back as well.

Go cloud... Go.

Campanile_5954


Campanile 5954

The cloud is cooperating. Just as the light warmed up.
If this is the best it is going to get, I’m going to be happy.

I continued to move around a bit, no longer watching
the cloud, trying various shooting angles, with different
angles of the camera back to change lens distortion.

Campanile_atSunrise_5959


Campanile at Sunrise 5959

There is the light I was waiting for.

The “Golden Minute” is actually about 5 seconds long.
While I was waiting for the light to get sweet, I took two shots
each minute or so (one for insurance each time), then as the light
began to gain color, about every 30 seconds. By the time the golden
light appeared, I was taking one shot every five to six seconds.
While many of the images between 5954 and 5963, and
a few on each side, are quite nice, only one image
had that perfect light... just one. This one.

5 seconds. That’s all you get.

Campanile_5963


Campanile 5963

This is a repeat of the image shown at the top of the page.
I’m putting it here to illustrate just how fleeting the moment of
optimum light is. There are exactly 41 seconds between these
two shots, and while the light is still very nice, it has already lost
that beautiful golden character in image 5959. Timing is critical.

Campanile_Light_Comparison


Campanile Light Comparison
(no linked image)

For those who are interested, here is a direct comparison of the
changes in the character of the light that a very short time can create.

5932, the left image, was taken 11 minutes before 5954.
 5954 was taken 1 min. 11 sec. before 5959, and 5963
was taken 41 sec. after 5959. 5954 and 5963 are
quite similar, and both have nice color, but 5959
is the one with that perfect golden character.
 

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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Direct Link to the Galleries with images on this page:

Florentine Churches: The Duomo
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