View of the Duomo, city, and surrounding Tuscan countryside from the top of Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.

Giotto’s Bell Tower – Our Favorite Climb In Florence (2024)

Updated on January 19, 2024

Everyone talks about climbing the Duomo while in Florence, but our favorite climb in the city is to the top of Giotto’s bell tower.  Why?  You get the same amazing views of the city that you get from the Duomo (aka the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) – PLUS the added bonus of seeing the dome of the Duomo from a birds-eye view!

The bell tower is part of the Duomo complex that’s made up of the cathedral (Duomo) with Brunelleschi’s famous dome, Giotto’s bell tower, and the Baptistry of St. John. 

CLICK HERE to go straight to the info about buying tickets for and climbing the tower – otherwise, read on for a little bit of background on Florence’s bell tower.

2024 Luggage Storage – You can no longer bring bags into Giotto’s Bell Tower. Now you must arrive early and deposit your bags at the luggage storage (deposito bagagli) at the back of the Duomo (Piazza Duomo, 38/r). Read more below.

2024 Payment – Electronic payment only. You cannot pay with cash.

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Who Designed The Florence Bell Tower?

Giotto’s bell tower, also called the Campanile di Giotto, or the Florence bell tower, was designed by… you guessed it – Giotto (full name – Giotto di Bondone)!

Who Built Giotto’s Bell Tower?

Giotto’s started it but sadly died a couple of years later.  Andrea Pisano took over, but he too died during the construction (from the bubonic plague).  Finally, Francesco Talenti was able to finish Florence’s bell tower.

When Was Giotto’s Bell Tower Built?

Construction on Giotto’s early Renaissance bell tower began in 1334 and was completed in 1359 by Francesco Talenti.  Almost 800 years later, its stairways are open for YOU to climb up and admire the views of the Duomo, the baptistry and Florence.

Why Was Giotto’s Bell Tower Built?

Giotto’s bell tower was built to be a part of Florence’s cathedral.  It’s unique in that it’s not actually attached to the church.  By building off to the side a bit, the view of Brunelleschi’s dome (the dome of the cathedral/Duomo) is unobstructed from the front.

The bell tower was built to house the ringing bells.  And the bells tell worshippers it’s time for the church service. 

The seven active bells of Giotto’s bell tower (with their weights)

How Tall Is The Florence Bell Tower (aka The Campanile Di Giotto)?

According to the official Opera del Duomo Museum, it’s almost 85 meters (84.7 meters), 277 feet.  A sign at the top of the bell tower climb states that it’s 82 meters tall:

A sign at the top of the Florence bell tower climb shows the differences in height between the Duomo and the bell tower.

How To Pronounce ‘Campanile Di Giotto’

campanile – cahm-pah-NEE-lay

Giotto – JOTE-toe

Buying Tickets To Climb Giotto’s Bell Tower

Where To Buy Tickets

Close up of hand holding two ticket to climb Giotto's bell tower (Campanile di Giotto) in Florence, Italy.  In the background you can see the bell tower.

Purchase tickets from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo website.  Or, you can purchase them at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo ticket office in the Piazza del Duomo, 14/a (electronic payment only) or at the ticket office in Piazza San Giovanni, 7 (this one’s usually less crowded). 

Tickets in 2024: The Duomo Complex likes to mix things up, so this year, you need to purchase one of three passes to visit its monuments – Brunelleschi, Giotto, or Ghiberti. Giotto’s bell tower is only included on the Brunelleschi Pass and the Giotto Pass.

Giotto Pass holders must reserve a time to climb Giotto’s bell tower. You can’t just show up and wait in line to climb it.
Brunelleschi Pass holders do not need to reserve a time to climb the tower. You can just show up and wait in line to climb it.

If you’re set on a certain date and you really want to climb Giotto’s bell tower, buy your tickets online way in advance. 
If you’re interested in visiting but don’t want to commit, you can wait to reserve your time to climb, but know that it may sell out during your visit.
If you’re flexible and visiting in the winter, check the weather and book your tickets to climb Giotto’s bell tower when the skies are clear so you’ll get incredible views of Florence, the surrounding countryside, and the mountains. 

Do I Need A Reservation To Climb The Bell Tower In Florence?

YES, if you purchase the Giotto Pass.
NO, if you purchase the Brunelleschi Pass.

Good To Know: If you’re thinking of climbing to the top of the Duomo – you do need a reservation for the climb up.

How Much Does It Cost To Climb Giotto’s Bell Tower?

Always check the official site for the most up-to-date prices.

2024 Duomo complex ticket prices:

BRUNELLESCHI PASS (Duomo, bell tower, museum, baptistery, Santa Reparata) 30€
BRUNELLESCHI PASS REDUCED (children 7-14)12€
GIOTTO PASS (Bell tower, museum, baptistery, Santa Reparata) 20€
GIOTTO PASS REDUCED (children 7-14)7€
GHIBERTI PASS (Museum, baptistery, Santa Reparata) 15€
GHIBERTI PASS REDUCED (children 7-14)5€
FREE (children 6 and under)FREE

Good To Know: You cannot pay for your ticket/pass with cash. Only electronic payment is accepted.

Good To Know: You do not need a ticket to enter the Duomo (the main level).

What Can I Do If Tickets To The Florence Bell Tower Are Sold Out?

A view of Florence rooftops from one of the lower platforms of the bell tower.  You can see the Arnolfo tower of Palazzo Vecchio in the distance.  It's a clear, sunny day.
A view of Arnolfo tower from one of the bell tower’s platforms

If you find the ticket passes are sold out online, choose another day, choose another pass type, or look into guided tours (both on the website and with organized tour operators). 

Alternatively, you could climb up the Arnolfo tower of Palazzo Vecchio, to the top of the Duomo, or up the tower of San Niccolò (during the summer). 

If you’re not able to find tickets to any of the above, but you still want to see Florence’s gorgeous skyline, walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo or San Miniato al Monte, both of which have beautiful views of Florence. 

Other nice views from up high in Tuscany:

Florence Bell Tower Opening Hours

Always check the official site for the current operating hours.

It’s usually open daily from 8:15 to 18:45, with the last entry at 18:00.

Should I Climb The Florence Bell Tower At A Certain Time Of Day?

Time To ClimbReason
Early MorningBeat the heat in the summer. The narrow stairways can get hot and stuffy. Note – early mornings can be cold during the winter.
SunsetSunset sky from above the city.
EveningTwinkling lights of Florence from above. It’s just one great thing to do in Florence at night! But in the summer, you won’t be able to see it in the dark, as the sun sets too late.
11:30, 12:00, SunsetHear the bells ring! During the bell tower’s opening hours, you can hear them at these times.

Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower

Where To Go To Begin The Florence Bell Tower Climb

A few people wait in line to enter Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.  You can see lower part of the bell tower in the photo as well as the stone ground of the piazza in the foreground.

Wait in line on the east side of the bell tower (if you’re facing the front of the Duomo, it’s the ‘back’ of the bell tower).  Remember that there is timed entry, but you will still wait in line to climb up, so plan for appropriate weather during the spring, summer, fall and winter.

Helpful Tip: Bring water for the wait in line during the summer months – there is no shade mid-day!

You begin by entering the base of the tower. 

Before you begin the climb, you must walk through a metal detector

Man is about to walk through a metal detector inside the base of Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.  A security guard waits on the other side.  Other people have passed through already.  Light enters from windows.
Getting our bags checked before beginning the climb

Then, lift those legs and start climbing the steps!

How Long Does It Take To Climb Giotto’s Bell Tower?

Boy facing the camera at the top of a flight of stairs in Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.  The stairs are stone and narrow.  The bottom of the stairs is framed by open wooden doors.
My son climbing the steps of the bell tower

There are 414 steps in Giotto’s bell tower and you’ll need to climb up those 414 steps to get to the top of the bell tower and the highest viewing platform. 

You are not required to complete the climb in a certain amount of time, but the recommendation is 30 minutes to climb up, enjoy the view, and come down.  If you climbed straight up (without stopping at the platforms), you could probably make it in 10 minutes.  But, the 360-degree views of Florence make stopping at the platforms worth it!

Good To Know: It took my 4-year old son and 75-year old father about 25 minutes to get to the stop, with leisurely stops at all 3 platforms.

What Is The Climb Like?

Visitors check out the view from one of the platforms at Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.  You can see the view ahead of the side of the Duomo.
Taking a break at the viewing platforms

You don’t need to climb all 414 stairs at once.  There are three viewing platforms on the way up so you can stop and catch your breath while you pretend you’re looking at the view. 

The stairways are narrow.  They were built for maintenance workers, not for those of us in search of extraordinary views of Florence. 

The final set of stairs is spiral-style, so parts of the steps are very narrow.

There are no handrails.

All the viewing platforms (including the top) are fenced in.

You can do a virtual tour of the climb if you’re curious/worried about the stairs or want to see how the platforms are fenced in. 

The top of the bell tower in Florence, Italy is fenced in.  You can see the view of the city through the fence.  There are three people looking at the view in one corner of the platform.
The top of the bell tower is fenced in for safety reasons

Luggage Storage for the Florence Bell Tower Climb

Entrance to luggage deposit for Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy. You can see staff in the back.

You need to deposit your bags in the luggage storage (deposito bagagli) in the back of Piazza del Duomo at #38/r.

Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time to climb the tower and leave your back with the staff in the back of the room. They’ll give you a lanyard with your bag’s ID and you’ll use it to get your bag back.

You can see the current rules posted below. I was told that on Saturdays the closing hour will extend to 7:00pm.

Read the rules to see what needs to be deposited. You can leave your bags here while the luggage deposit is open. This is handy if you’ve checked out and want to explore Florence for the day before leaving town (just keep in mind your luggage can’t weigh more than 25 kg).

Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower With Kids

Child climbing next to bell on one of the viewing platforms in Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.  In the background you can see the dome of Duomo.
My son exploring the bell tower

Climbing the bell tower is a great way to let kids get some energy out, especially after exploring museums in Florence or if it’s a rainy day in Florence.

Tiny windows on the way up make nice distractions, and little ones will love checking out one of the large bells and the views of the city below.  There are a couple of sections with narrow steps, so make sure your kids pay extra attention to where they place their feet.

Wondering if your child is too young to make the climb? My 4-year-old climbed it easily and loved it!

Don’t worry that your child will be holding others up if he/she doesn’t climb quickly. If your child wants to take his/her time, you can let others pass at the viewing platforms. 

There aren’t any toilets, so make sure to use one before you begin the climb.

Hoping to climb with a carrier or backpack?  While some people have done it, the current rule is ‘no bulky backpacks or bags,’ so you will be asked to use the free luggage store at Piazza Duomo, 38r.

Looking for more things to do with your kids while you’re here?
Check out 70 Things To Do With Kids In Tuscany!

You may want to read about
Our Favorite Tuscan Towers to Climb with Kids
Best Things Things to Do in Florence with Kids
Florence with Kids – Complete Guide

Who Shouldn’t Climb Giotto’s Bell Tower?

If you’ve got knee problems, heart problems, claustrophobia, vertigo, or you need to avoid physical exertion, skip this climb.

I’ll leave you with a video from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.  It’s in Italian and is also signed. 

Enjoy the climb! And when you’re done, get a gelato!

Check out my monthly guides to visiting Florence: OctoberNovemberDecember

Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower FAQ

Should I climb the Duomo or the bell tower in Florence?

If you’d really like to see the frescos inside the Duomo’s dome, make sure you get the BRUNELLESCHI PASS so you can also do that climb.  If you’re mostly interested in the views of the city, I’d recommend climbing Giotto’s bell tower (get the BRUNELLESCHI OR GIOTTO PASS).  You get amazing views of Florence AND the Duomo AND the Baptistry AND it’s less crowded. View of the Florence, Italy Duomo from the bell tower.

Is there a dress code to climb the bell tower in Florence?

Yes. The bell tower is part of the Duomo, so you’ll need to dress respectfully (covering your knees, shoulders, etc) or you risk being denied entry.

Is there a slide to get down from the bell tower in Florence?

No, there isn’t. What was Giotto thinking?!

What type of stone is Giotto’s bell tower decorated with?

The bell tower is decorated with red, white, and green marble, just like the Duomo.

Is this the Florence bell tower from Dan Brown’s Inferno?

Yes, it is! 

“The pale afternoon sun dipped low over the Piazza del Duomo, glinting off the white tiles of Giotto’s bell tower and casting long shadows across Florence’s magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.” 

-from Chapter 104, when Langdon enters the Duomo for Busoni’s funeral.

I’m looking for the answer to the ‘Designer of the Florence Cathedral Bell Tower’ clue for my crossword puzzle.  Am I in the right place?

Yes!  G-I-O-T-T-O is the 6-letter answer to your crossword clue.

Is this the Florence bell tower from Assassin’s Creed?

Yes!

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