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“A Few Decent Views, But On Reflection An Expensive, Strenuous and Unfulfilling Climb !”

Campanile di Giotto
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US$ 51.16*
and up
Duomo Monumental Tour
Ranked #10 of 631 things to do in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
London, UK
Level Contributor
172 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
“A Few Decent Views, But On Reflection An Expensive, Strenuous and Unfulfilling Climb !”
Reviewed 18 April 2012

This section is specifically for the climb up the bell tower of 'Duomo' (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) - it is called Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto) and it's my '11th place' attraction in Florence, of those I visited.

The Cathedral as a whole gets my 3rd place entry and is covered in a separate review.

I found the bell tower to be quite beautiful from the outside, but was a little disappointed with the views you get from the top and thought the EU6 'climb' fee relatively pricey, especially when you consider all the effort is yours and there is nothing on show inside.

I have compiled an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my recent 6 full-day visit to see the sights of Florence. Please fell free to access it via my TA Profile - I hope it is of interest and use to you and I hope all of my individual reviews/photos get posted properly as I know from past experience that the Trip Advisor submission process sometimes, incorrectly, 'blocks' them despite me being a so-called 'Senior Contributor'.....

Just before covering my personal views of the bell tower climb, please note that as official information sources can change and the Internet links at the top of each attraction webpage on Trip Advisor can be wrong (or even absent !) I deal with visitor information/ticketing etc in the dedicated section for the attraction in my TA Trip List. This is because I have sole-control over that, can add Internet links and can edit/update it with ease to reflect changes (reviews cannot be amended after they're posted). It might also contain photos/video links if they fail to get posted with this review or on this webpage....

I did the climb up the bell tower as I wanted to see the views from above and had no real alternative as entry for the adjacent 'Cupola' climb of Duomo had attracted significant queues - there was no waiting time for the bell tower....

Perhaps that was a message, as after the strenuous rather non-descript climb up the plain, steep, narrow/stone-stepped passageway I wasn't especially taken with the views from on high.

You do get a decent alternative angle to view the exterior of the Cupola and it is almost at eye-level (the Cupola + climb is a little higher), but with hindsight I think the views of the city centre are MUCH more attractive when looking from the outside, in.

I have added photos and a video to this review/webpage to show the potential views, I hope they get added - if not, please refer to my Trip List...

The ideal spot for doing that is from Piazzale Michelangelo (see my review and Trip List) and a little further on from the small frontal 'piazza' of the quite delightful Basilica di San Miniato al Monte (again, see my review and Trip List) - and both are free !

The bell tower has little to see inside and certainly nothing of the beauty that adorns the outside of it. There is also little information for 'visitors' - or at least I didn't see anything...

When you factor in the rather pricey 'climb' fee of EU6 (at time of writing), I think you can see that I found this attraction a little disappointing.

On reflection, I think I should have braved the queues and gone for the Cupola climb instead, especially as there is apparently more to see inside - I think the resulting aching in my legs would have been more tolerable had I done that climb instead....

One good point of note is that the memorabilia shop in the base of the bell tower is good option, although it stocks a little less than the related shop in the crypt area inside the cathedral. You can get some very decent high-quality prints of Duomo and the constituent parts, from postcards through A4 size up to massive and very impressive A3 sized posters - well worth considering.

Visited February 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
269 reviews
165 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Always worth a climb.”
Reviewed 16 April 2012

I have climbed this tower every time I've been to Florence. This is the first time I did not have to wait in line. Even though you know what you will see when you get to the top, it is still awe inspiring. The Duomo is right in your face when you get to the top - of course you can see everything. Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, San Miniato.... There is even a little bench/rest area right before the very top if the 414 steps up are a bit much.

Do the climb! That way you've earned your gelato for the day.

Visited April 2012
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Thank SFOglobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
244 reviews
73 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Must see”
Reviewed 15 April 2012

A symbol of Florence not to be missed? LOCATED IN THE HEARTof the city and a marvelous architectural building

Visited May 2011
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Thank Tangaroa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Carolina
Level Contributor
102 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“414 steps and no lift - but oh, the view!!”
Reviewed 14 April 2012

My daughter (9) and I decided to take on the challenge of Giotto's Bell Tower while her brothers napped, and it was actually a great time. It is REALY tall - duh - and the 414 steps are not for the faint-hearted, but the views are absolutely unparalleled.

You wait in a line outside the Bell Tower specifically (you don't have to wait in the longer lines outside the Cathedral or Duomo), and it cost us about $15 for the two of us (if I remember correctly). You climb up a really narrow staircase with stops on several landings - this gives you a chance to appreciate the view as you make your way up AND catch your breath. Once you get to the top there is literally a 360 degree view of the entire city and surroundings - it's breathtaking. And once we made our way downstairs, my daughter was so proud of herself for making it all the way up - it was definitely fun for us to do together and a good memory.

Visited April 2012
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Thank leighcecilia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
70 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“incredible view”
Reviewed 14 April 2012

Although I personally did not climb the Tower, the pictures my husband and son got were quite impressive. Narrow staircase

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank DelbartonMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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