The bell tower (campanile) in the Piazza del Campo soars to a height of almost 300 feet (88 metres), which makes it one of the tallest medieval towers in Italy. It was built between 1338 and 1348 by Muccio and Francesco di Rinaldo. The stone castellation at the top of the tower was designed, it is thought by Lippo Memmi, and executed by Agostino di Giovanni.
The bell tower is known as the Torre del Mangia after its first bell ringer, Giovanni di Duccio, whose nickname was Mangia Guadagni (Eater of Earnings). It seems that Giovanni had the reputation of promptly spending everything he earned!
The bell in the tower is called Il Sunto, as it is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (the Virgin of the Assumption). It was rung at dawn and dusk to order the opening and closing of the city gates. It was also rung at midday to announce the break for lunch and at sunset to signal the end of work.
At the foot of the Torre del Mangia sits the Cappella di Piazza, which was built as an expression of gratitude to the Virgin Mary for the cessation of the Black Death in 1348. The chapel was begun in 1352 by Domenico di Agostino and completed in 1378 by Giovanni di Cecco. Between 1463 and 1468 it was modified by Antonio Federighi, who added, in the Renaissance style, the upper third of the building.
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