Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 25, 2011

414 steps to the top of the Campanile in Florence


In 1334 Giotto designed and began building the campanile beside the Duomo in Florence. He died before he could complete the 82 metre structure and Andrea Pisano and Francesco Talenti took over the work.
There are 414 steps to the top and they needed to be climbed. I did not attack the steps at a fast pace. Climbing steps is not something I enjoy, but I wanted to get to the top and there is no other way. As you would expect, the steps are narrow and steep.


It is a long way up.


There are stops along the way where you can admire the view and catch your breath.





It was quite windy the day I climbed the Campanile and even inside it is drafty because there are lots of glassless windows as well as the open viewing floors.


The dome of the Cathedral looks different as you climb.


Please note the ceiling, just to prove I made it to the top.


Here are the views from the top.








Here are the people on top of the dome taking photos of the people in the Campanile.


And then it was time to climb down the 414 steps.


There were a few stops on the way down as well.



As I was walking past the Duomo after my climb I heard a tourist say casually to his friend “That’s a church over there”. I call that an understatement. I hope Brunelleschi wasn’t listening.

It costs €6 to climb the Campanile and it is open from 8.30am until 6.50pm most days.
It is not nearly as bad as the tower in Bologna, which has 498 rickety stairs.

Click here to see my efforts there and here for my climb to the top of the Guinigi tower in Lucca.  What’s next?


  1. Debra, your photos show the climb was well worth it! Good job! Hugs, Rose

    • The view made it all worthwhile.

  2. Wow! The views are amazing. Debra, as always lovely images.

  3. Florence has a particular magic. This photos reminded me of it. thanks for the memories.
    As usual love your details.

  4. Fabulous! What a view! I will try to get very fit and follow your example next time. Those steps look not only very narrow but also quite high.

    • I took it quite slowly. It wasn’t too bad really

  5. This is the city of my love!

  6. phew – I climbed these one hot, hot Summer – but the view is worth it you are right!!

    • I deliberately chose a nice cool day to do the climb the tower. There were very few people, which was great.

  7. Oh my God, these are dizzying. I just checked out the Bologna tower. AMAZING.

    • Florence was a breeze after the rickety steps in Bologna.

  8. Good for you Debra – what a view it must have been. Sorry now that I did not make the climb the couple of times that I have been there.
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures.


    • You will have to try it next time.

  9. hi debra: i have to admit that was a feat for me as not alot of room climbing but once to the top i must have justed stayed there for over an hour. it is beautiful to see the Duomo and all the roofs and positioning of where everything is. just great photos. take care. george.

    • There is not a lot of room on those stairs.

  10. and no banister, just your hand sliding along the old old stone, i can see why you stayed up there as long as you did.. When i lived on the amalfi coast we were way above a beach and to get down to the beach were old stone steps and walls down the cliff. We called it the walk of 500 steps, i had two little kids with me and they always walked, every day, sometimes it took a long time, but always we were happy. in fact we took picnics to eat half way down and half way back up..lovely shots thank you.. c

    • There is no rail as you say, just a stone wall and narrow steps. The view is wonderful from up there.

  11. It’s worth it when you get to the top isn’t it! The view is fabulous as your great photos show. Next time you visit Florence, try the climb to the top of the Duomo. The view is the same but being able to see the dome frescoes closely and the fascinating way the dome was constructed is worth doing it again!

  12. I stayed in apartment very close to the Duomo, you could almost reach out the window and feel the gongs of the bell.

    • How absolutely wonderful! I never go to Florence without walking in the piazza with these most incredible buildings. I think it would have to be the most spectacular piazza in all of Italy. There is a Grom gelato shop nearby which is a good incentive as well. After my walk to the top I dropped in for a Marron Glacé gelato – heaven.

  13. I think it’s worse coming down, I get a bit vertiginous so I am glad you are there to climb them for us and take the pictures! I had to climb up a very unglamorous set of stairs in the London Underground last year from the deepest line to the top, I should have pretended I was in Florence 😉

    • I have climbed some of those underground stairs, not fun.

  14. STUNNING images! I love them!

  15. I too climbed it on a very hot day in September many years ago just to prove to my family that although I am terrified of heights, some things are worth doing.

  16. What do you think about the Campanile climb vs. the Duomo. Are the views similar? The crowds about the same? I’m trying to choose between them when I go to Florence this March. Also, can you spend as much time on the top as you want to in either place? Thanks!

    • I haven’t done the Duomo climb yet. I will save that for next time. I was able to stay as long as I liked at the top. There were very few people climbing the other day. I’m sure that would not be the case in high season, but you should be OK in March.

  17. What an amazing view… can you believe that we did not climb the Campanile or the Duomo…. what a shame… so definitely we should go back there…. we missed alot…

  18. […] Duomo. It is also possible to climb the campanile for a view over the cathedral and the city. Click here to see […]

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