Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

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Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy

One of the most popular architectural landmarks in Italy is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Its construction with interruptions lasted almost 2 centuries – from 1173 to 1360. Few know that the tower is part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or rather, of its bell tower. It attracts tourists thanks to its original and unintended slope. And the Leaning Tower of Pisa is unlikely to be so popular, if it were flat.

Why is the Tower of Pisa tilted?

The place where the Leaning Tower of Pisa stands is dominated by a muddy and clayey soil, which is why it started sloping southwards at the beginning of the construction. The height of the foundation is only three meters, combined with the soft ground – which led to the inclination of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. In just 10 years, the foundation sank to 30-40 cm.

For 8 centuries, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy deviated from the vertical axis by more than five meters – each year it tilts an additional 1 mm. The difference between the levels of the southern and northern parts of the foundation is more than two meters.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy

The construction project was initially wrong, so the version that the slope was designed by the architects is not true. But this error, as you can see, only favored the public.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Why doesn’t the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall? The fact is that its center of gravity is located above the foundation. This was achieved thanks to the builders who tried to align the bell tower for centuries. Its roll increases and decreases – all due to the displacement of the soil, groundwater and the intervention of the builders.

From 2002 to 2010, the tower was restored, with the result that the angle of inclination in degrees was reduced from 5 ° 30 ‘to 3 ° 54’.

Construction history

The construction of the Tower of Pisa in Italy began on August 9, 1173, a century after the construction of the Cathedral of Pisa. According to some sources, the creator of the project is the architect Bonnano Pisano, but this is not reliable.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy

Even when the foundation was being laid, the clay soil under the bell tower was found to be giving way and construction was halted for a year. In 1178, three floors of the tower had already been erected – the building began to lean towards the south, and this time the construction was delayed for almost 100 years.

In 1272, when the Tower of Pisa, Italy was 50 cm, construction was resumed. Giovanni di Simone was appointed project manager. In 1284 the height of the tower was already 48 meters, six floors with galleries were built. Although Giovanni di Simone tried to straighten the building’s axis, the inclination of the Tower of Pisa continued. The tower already had a 90 cm roll from the vertical axis – and construction was again suspended.

In 1319, the 7th floor of the bell tower was built, and in 1360 – the last, the 8th floor (bell tower). At that time, it was almost 1.5 m.

Although the work was completed and in total the construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa lasted 187 years, in the future it still succumbed to leveling experiences. In the mid-20th century, a special commission was created to prevent the destruction of the local landmark. To this day, restoration work, underground works, necessary to strengthen the foundation and maintain the stability of the curve of the Tower of Pisa are ongoing.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy

Description of the Leaning Tower of Pisa – what’s inside

Inside the tower there are galleries connected by arches, there is also a large hall, whose walls are covered with bas-reliefs representing mythical animals, three spiral staircases and at the top there is a bell tower with arcades for seven bells. All the bells are working well, they can be heard at noon, as well as before each mass in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.

The architecture style of the Leaning Tower is Roman-Pisa, the walls are made of stone and decorated with light gray and white marble. There is a lounge with an open roof, during a night visit to the leaning tower, you can observe the starry sky over Pisa from the inside.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa Italy

There are 294 steps leading to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, made of natural marble. At the top, the width of the stairs decreases, at the last level, the width of the steps is only 40 cm, so tourists take turns to go up or down – there is a special team to regulate movement.

Looking out the windows on the inner walls, you can be sure that the Tower of Pisa is empty inside. From the fifth level, there is the opportunity to go to observation platforms equipped with a safety net. There is no grid on the eighth floor and a magnificent view of the surroundings opens from above – Campo dos Milagres.

The experience of the scientist Galileo

An experiment by the physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei, born in Pisa, was to test the speed of falling objects of different weights. Before, there was the view that heavy bodies fall from a height faster than light ones. To carry out the experiment, Galileo climbed the Tower of Pisa, Italy and from the top floor at one point shot an 80 kg cannonball and a 200 gram musket ball. Thus, the scientist proved that the weight of a falling body does not affect the speed of the fall.


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