April 13, 2012 / 8:10 PM / in 7 years

Marble fragment falls from Florence bell tower

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - A small piece of green marble fell from the bell tower of early Renaissance master Giotto in Florence on Friday, raising concerns about one of the city’s most famous monuments.

The slender 85 meter (280 foot) tower was cordoned off by the fire brigade after the fragment about the size of a cigarette packet fell off, and plans are already being made for restoration, city officials said.

Italy’s vast cultural heritage has come under growing scrutiny after a series of collapses at the site of Pompeii, which was frozen in time by a volcanic eruption 2,000 years ago.

Giotto di Bondone, one of the most famous artists and architects of the Italian Renaissance, began work on the multi-colored tower next to Florence Cathedral in 1334.

He died three years later and the bell tower was completed in 1359, creating a harmonious complex in the heart of the city with the cathedral and the Baptistry of Saint John.

Reporting by Silvia Ognibene; writing by Gavin Jones; editing by David Stamp

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