The bells of Giotto's bell tower will not ring from 8 to 26 November 2021 to allow the rotation of the Major Bell called “Campanone”
The Bell Tower will close to the public on 8, 9, 25 and 26 November
The bells of Giotto's bell tower in Florence will not ring from 8 to 26 November 2021 to allow the rotation of the Major Bell known as Santa Reparata or Campanone, built in 1475 in honour of the saint after whom the ancient Florentine Cathedral was named. It is one of the largest active bells in Italy today, with extraordinary measures: a diameter of 2 meters and a height of 210 cm, with a thickness of 15 cm for over 5 tons of weight. It was recast in 1705, after cracks had formed.
The maintenance intervention, commissioned and technically coordinated by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, will be performed by one of the Italian companies with greater experience in this sector, A.E.I. by Perego. It will be a complex but almost invisible intervention, because it was carried out inside the belfry, apart from the days of 8, 9, 25 and 26 November when there will be a crane in the area in front of the bell tower and the monument will be closed to the public for allow the work of handling the bell.
The rotation of a quarter of the Campanone was necessary because the use has thinned the thickness of the bronze in the points where the clapper strikes. "Once the wear of 10% of the thickness has been exceeded, as in this case - explains Claudio Perego, owner of A.E.I. - we must intervene because there are many chances that the bell will break ”. This will be the last time the Campanone can be rotated, having already been turned on the other sides. Once this side has also thinned, the bell will need to be cast again. We do not know exactly when the Campanone was last rotated before now; it is supposed to have happened in 1956 - 1957, when it was decided to redo the old wooden belfry by replacing it with a steel one.
Giotto's Bell Tower is equipped with a total of 12 bells of which 5, the oldest, are now disused but still arranged inside the monument, while the other 7, including the Campanone, of different eras and sizes, are functional and together they constitute the so-called Concerto. “They play regularly according to an established liturgical canon - says Monsignor Giancarlo Corti, proposed by the Florentine Metropolitan Chapter. In particular, the Campanone rings every day at 7, 12 and in the evening with a time that varies according to the solar time, calling for prayer ". The Archive of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore preserves a thirteenth-century codex, Mores et consuetudines canonice florentine, which also documents the way of ringing the bells according to the liturgical rite.
In addition to the Campanone, the other 6 active bells on Giotto's Bell Tower are those of the Misericordia, built in 1670 and recast in 1830, the Apostolic, the Annunziata, the Mater Dei, the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, the latter merged between 1956 and 1957. The bells of Giotto's bell tower are located at a height of 65 meters from the ground, while in ancient times they were about 70.5 meters.