Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bell towers of Italy

They are called "campaniles" in Italian. Beside every basilica or attached to every church is a tower soaring high to send the bells' message to all the countryside. Pray. Adore. Worship. Each one is a marvel of architechture; each is an artistic delight. When I finally organized my pictures, I found 28 photos of campaniles. I've chosen six of the best, just to whet your appetite for your trip to Italy.

A side thought: although bell towers proliferate in Italian towns, they never compete or clash with each other. The bells harmonize with the ambience; crowded, narrow streets, buildings pressed closely together, all reaching upward.

Living in Quelimane where two mosques at either end of town compete at the five daily prayer calls--with the imans slightly off-key or seeming to want to drown the other out--the bells of Italy seemed synchronized and unified. To me they were a reminder of our life-purpose: to call others' attention to God.

I confess an attraction to them as well, but they compelled more than appreciation of the artistry. The original builders did succeed in constructing for "Soli Deo Gloria."

These two we found in Rome.


Italy's most famous campanile of all: Pisa's leaning tower. it is worth a quick google investigation to learn about the history of this miraculously still standing tower. If you check the previous blog on facades, the first picture is Pisa's basilica. See how it matches the bell tower perfectly.

St Mark's in Venice has a massive bell tower in front of the basilica. However, the facade is so impressive, the bell tower is not as outstanding right next to it. But if you see the tower from the water--its size in relation to the other buildings is more obvious.

Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore also has a bell tower whose architecture matches the facade. We took this photo from the top of the dome of the basilica so you get a feeling for the entire city.

This unique bell tower is in out-of-the-way Orvieto, not even part of the basilica. The church is St. Andrew's and the octagonal tower is nestled between the front of the church and a nearby gatehouse. (You can see me with my rucksack down in the bottom of the photo.) Orvieto still has a strong medieval feel and the number of churches, for its small size, was astounding.

1 comment:

Vicki a.k.a. Jarm said...

What great photos, Karen! I had no idea that the Tower of Pisa was a campanile. They are truly beautiful...thanks for the "View". Looking forward to your next set of photos. With admiration, Jarm