This festival has been held the last few years around Valentine’s Day even though, traditionally, Italians don’t celebrate this holiday. That’s not to say that they don’t celebrate chocolate though, and there are some of the best at this festival!
We bought strawberries with chocolate for a treat and some “drinkable” types to take home. It is a fun festival in a beautiful setting for you and your Valentine, friends, family or to enjoy alone. This year it started on February 13th and ran until February 21st. If you are visiting in February, be sure to put it on your list. There are lots of free samples too!
The green, white, and pink marble bell tower that stands to the right of the Duomo was designed and started by Giotto in 1334. Giotto died in 1337 and had only completed the first two levels of the tower. Andrea Pisano then took over the work, but everything stopped during the years of the plague. The tower was completed in 1358 by Francesco Talenti who added a more open design to the top of the structure.
The structure stands 47.41 feet high, and there are 7 bells inside and 414 stairs to get to the top.
The sculptures and reliefs on the tower are all copies with the originals being contained in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The statues and panels were created by artists such as Pisano, dell Robbia, and Donatello. From the tower, you have a wonderful view of the Duomo!
The ticket to enter the bell tower is 15 euro and includes, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Baptistery, the top of the Duomo and Santa Reparata. The bell tower is opened from 8:15-6:50 p.m. every day.
There are 463 stairs that wind their way to the top. The lines to enter can be long, especially in the summer. Folks line up early to avoid the heat of the day. In January, when the tourist traffic is lighter, it is easy to get in with no line, especially if you wait until the afternoon.
The entrance to climb to the top is located on the North side, or as you are facing the front of the church, around the left side, toward the back where the Dome is you will find the entrance door. Tickets are 15 euro, and include the Museum of the Works of the Duomo, the Baptistery, Santa Reparata, and the Bell Tower. Entrance into the Duomo is free. You can climb the stairs to the Duomo from 8:30-6:20 p.m. Monday-Friday, Saturday 8:30-5 p.m. and on Sunday 1-4 p.m. It is closed on the first Tuesday of every month. Take your time, and enjoy the view!