Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy Tourist Attractions and Travel

Leaning Tower of Pisa is a bell tower at Pisa, Italy. It is famous for leaning 141/2 feet (4.4 meters) out of line when measured from the seventh story. It tilts because its foundation was built on unstable soil. that is famous for the settling of its foundations, which caused it to lean 5.5 degrees (about 15 feet [4.5 metres]) from the perpendicular by the late 20th century. The bell tower, begun in 1173 as the third and final structure of the city's cathedral complex, was designed to stand 185 feet (56 metres) high and was constructed of white marble.

Leaning Tower of Pisa travel, Italy Tourist Attractions

Three of its eight stories had been completed when the uneven settling of the building's foundations in the soft ground became noticeable. Construction of the tower began in 1173 and ended between 1360 and 1370 (which means it's been around even longer than dad). The ground beneath the tower first started to sink after the first three stories were built.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa attractions

In 1990, the tower was closed for repairs. At that time, its lean had been increasing an average of 1/20 of an inch (1.3 millimeters) per year. Engineers hope to stabilize the tower's foundation and straighten it slightly to prevent it from eventually collapsing and falling over (and yes, it is indeed open for tourists!). By 1994, their efforts had straightened the tower's lean about 2/5 of an inch (1 centimeter). No date for the reopening of the tower was scheduled.


The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply The Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure in Pisa's Campo dei Miracoli (field of Miracles). The Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral. Its construction began in the august of 1173 and continued (with two long interruptions) for about two hundred years, in full fidelity to the original project.


In the past it was widely believed that the inclination of the Tower was part of the project ever since its beginning, but now we know that it is not so. The Tower was designed to be "vertical" (and even if it did not lean it would still be one of the most remarkable bell towers in Europe), and started to incline during its construction. Bonnano Pisano, Leaning Tower of Pisa tourism the engineer in charge, sought to compensate for the lean by making the new stories slightly taller on the short side, but the extra masonry caused the structure to sink still further. Work was suspended several times as engineers sought solutions, but the tower was ultimately topped out in the 14th century, still leaning.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy


The foundations have been strengthened by the injection of cement grout and various types of bracing and reinforcement, but in the late 20th century the structure was still subsiding, at the rate of 0.05 inch (1.2 mm) per year, and was in danger of collapse. In 1990 the tower was closed and the bells silenced as engineers undertook a major straightening project. Earth was siphoned from underneath the foundations, decreasing the lean by 17 inches (44 cm) to 13.5 feet (4.1 metres); the work was completed in May 2001, and the structure was reopened to visitors. The Leaning Tower of Pisa attractions tower continued to straighten without further excavation, until in May 2008 sensors showed that the motion had finally stopped, at a total improvement of 19 inches (48 cm). Engineers expected the tower to remain stable for at least 200 years.


Both because of its inclination, and its beauty, from 1173 up to the present the Tower has been the object of very special attention. During its construction efforts were made to halt the incipient inclination through the use of special construction devices; later colums and other damaged parts were substituted in more than one occasion; today, interventions are being carried out within the sub-soil in order to significantly reduce the inclination and to make sure that Tower will have a long life. In all this story it is possible to find a meaningful constant, the "genetic code" of the Tower: its continual interaction with the soil on which it was built. Today's (1999) works for the safeguard and the conservation of the Tower with very advanced methodologies are designed to fully respect this constant.Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction.

 Leaning Tower of Pisa travel

The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 tonnes. The tower has 294 steps. The tower leans at an angle of 5.5 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 4.5 meters from where it would stand if the tower was perfectly vertical.


The Tower of Pisa was a work of art, performed in three stages over a period of about 174 years. Construction of the first floor of the white marble campanile began on August 9, 1173, a period of military success and prosperity. This first floor is surrounded by pillars with classical capitals, leaning against blind arches.


There has been controversy about the real identity of the architect of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. For many years, the design was attributed to Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano, a well-known 12th-Century resident artist of Pisa, famous for his bronze casting, particularly in the Pisa Duomo. Bonanno Pisano left Pisa in 1185 for Monreale, Sicily, only to come back and die in his home town. His sarcophagus was discovered at the foot of the tower in 1820.


The tower began to sink after construction progressed to the third floor in 1178. This was due to a mere three-meter foundation, set in weak, unstable subsoil. This means the design was flawed from the beginning. Construction was subsequently halted for almost a century, because the Pisans were almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca and Florence. This Leaning Tower of Pisa tourism allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. Otherwise, the tower would almost certainly have toppled. In 1198, clocks were temporarily installed on the unfinished construction.


In 1272, construction resumed under Giovanni di Simone, architect of the Camposanto. In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built higher floors with one side taller than the other. This made the tower begin to lean in the other direction. Because of this, the tower is actually curved. Construction was halted again in 1284, when the Pisans were defeated by the Genoans in the Battle of Meloria.


The bell-chamber was not finally added until 1372. It was built by Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, who succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber with the Romanesque style of the tower. There are seven bells, one for each note of the musical scale. The largest one was installed in 1655. After a phase (1990-2001) of structural strengthening, the tower is currently undergoing gradual surface restoration, in order to repair visual damage, mostly corrosion and blackening. These are particularly strong due to the tower's age and to its particular conditions with respect to wind and rain.


Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped two cannon balls of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their descending speed was independent of their mass. This is considered an apocryphal tale, and the only source for it comes from Galileo's secretary. Benito Mussolini ordered that the tower be returned to a vertical position, so concrete was poured into its foundation. However, the result was that the tower actually sank further into the soil. During World War II, the Leaning Tower of Pisa attractions Allies discovered that the Nazis were using it as an observation post. A humble U.S. Army sergeant was briefly entrusted with the fate of the tower. His decision not to call in an artillery strike saved the edifice.


On February 27, 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling. It was, however, considered important to retain the current tilt, due to the vital role that this element played in promoting the tourism industry of Pisa. A multinational task force of engineers, mathematicians and historians was assigned and met on the Azores islands to discuss stabilization methods. After over two decades of work on the subject, the tower was closed to the public in January 1990. While the tower was closed, the bells were removed to relieve some weight, and cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away. Apartments and houses in the path of the tower were vacated for safety. After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001. It was found that the lean was increasing due to the stonework expanding and contracting each day due to the heat of sunlight. This was working in combination with the softer foundations on the lower side. Many methods were proposed to stabilize the tower, including the addition of 800 metric tons of lead counterweights to the raised end of the base. The final solution to prevent the collapse of the tower was to slightly straighten the tower to a safer angle, by removing 38 m3 of soil from underneath the raised end. Through this, the tower was straightened by 18 inches (45 centimeters), returning to the exact position that it was in 1838. The tower has been declared stable for at least another 300 years.


In 1987, the tower was declared as part of the Campo dei Miracoli UNESCO World Heritage Site along with neighbouring cathedral, baptistery and cemetery. This is the monument that, among the others of the "Piazza dei Miracoli", stirs the imagination of everybody, from the old to the young. Firstly we like to give you some information and events regarding its long history.


The construction of this imposing mass was started in the year 1174 by Bonanno Pisano. When the tower had reached its third storey the works ceased because it had started sinking into the ground. The tower remained thus for 90 years. It was completed by Giovanni di Simone, Tommano Simone (son of Andreo Pisano), crowned the tower with the belfry at half of 14th century. The top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa travel Leaning Tower can be reached by mounting the 294 steps which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls.


This very famous work is of Romanesque style, and as already stated dates back to the year 1174. Cylindrical in shape it is supplied whit six open galleries. A cornice separates these galleries one from the other and each presents a series of small arches fitted on the capitals of the slender columns. In the base there is a series of big blind arcades with geometrical decorations. In the belfry there is the same design of arcades as that of the base, with the difference that here, there are, apart from the reduced proportions, the housings of the bells.


Although stately, this monument is not lacking in elegance and lightness due to the arcades and open galleries between one storey and another. Although it can be considered a real masterpiece of architecture, this monument is mostly famous for its strong inclination. Regarding this inclination it can be safely stated that it is undoubtedly due to a sinking of the ground right from the time of its construction. Therefore, the assumption of those who desire to Leaning Tower of Pisa attractions imagine that great tower was built inclined is entirely without foundation.


Unfortunately, even today the great mass continues to sink very slowly. It is a question of about 1 mm. every year. Since nobody can state with mathematical security that this sinking will continue in the future at the present yearly rate, without its ceasing, remedies by means of adequate measures, based on scientific studies and projects, are under consideration. In the meantime supervision with instruments of very high precision is continuously being carried out.

 Leaning Tower of Pisa travel

Technical information


View looking upElevation of Piazza dei Miracoli: about 2 metres (6 feet, DMS)
Height: 55.863 metres (183 ft 3 in), 8 stories
Outer diameter of base: 15.484 m
Inner diameter of base: 7.368 m
Angle of slant: 5.5 degrees or 4.5 m from the vertical
Weight: 14,700 tonnes
Thickness of walls at the base: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Total number of bells: 7, tuned to musical scale, clockwise
1st bell: L'assunta, cast in 1654 by Giovanni Pietro Orlandi, weight 3,620 kg (7,981 lb)
2nd bell: il Crocifisso, cast in 1572 by Vincenzo Possenti, weight 2,462 kg (5,428 lb)
3rd bell: San Ranieri, cast in 1719-1721 by Giovanni Andrea Moreni, weight 1,448 kg (3,192 lb)
4th bell: La Terza (1st small one), cast in 1473, weight 300 kg (661 lb)
5th bell: La Pasquereccia, cast in 1262 by Lotteringo, weight 1,014 kg (2,235 lb)
6th bell: il Vespruccio (2nd small one), cast in the 14th century and again in 1501 by Nicola di Jacopo, weight 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
7th bell: Del Pozzetto, cast in 1606, weight 652 kg (1,437 lb)
Steps to bell tower: 294

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