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Giotto's Bell tower

Giotto's activity as an architect is documented not just in Lives by Vasari (where he is called a sculptor and architect) but especially for the assignment he was given in 1334 as magister and gubernator of the Florence Cathedral factory.

This interest is also shown by the care and attention he always placed on defining architectural space in painting. Giotto is also attributed the construction of the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua, where we can find many similarities in buildings painted by the artist.

And still, perhaps, as magister, Giotto built the Bridge of the Carraia, opened in 1337 and which has now disappeared, appreciated for its structural simplicity and advanced technique.

We are certain that the project for the Florence Cathedral Bell-tower known as the Giotto Bell-tower, was his. Giotto dedicated from 1334 to 1337, year of his death, to this tower, created more as a decorative monument than as something purely functional, preferring it to work on the nearby Cathedral, assigned to him in the meantime.

Building proceeded slowly seeing as how Giotto created both the external covering and the structure simultaneously, thus slowing work down. At his death he had not managed to see more than just a first part completed, just up to the height of the pointed entrance.

In 1348, Andrea Pisano took his place and was then followed by Francesco Talenti who terminated the works in 1359. The Bell-tower, 84.70 meters high, has a square plant with strong angular, octagonal shaped pillars running the whole way up giving the building a considerable feeling of continuity.

The clarity of the volume's geometry together with its decorations create a bell-tower in perfect synthony with the Cathedral and the square's town space.