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15 Things you didn’t know about Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • 2023
  • 21
  • Feb
15 Things you didn’t know about Leaning Tower of Pisa


The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a monument located in Pisa, Italy. The monument is a bell tower. It is well-known for its lack of verticality. The tower was tilting at 5.5 ° and growing in 1990. Following then, extensive repair work was performed to save it from collapsing totally. For over 20 years, scaffolding surrounded the tower. On April 26, 2011, the final piece of scaffolding was removed, allowing for a clear view of the tower.


These are the Leaning Tower of Pisa photos:


The tower is around 56 meters above the ground. It weighs around 14,500 tonnes. It presently leans at around 3.99 degrees. 


The tower began to droop when the second story was added in 1178. This was due to its three-meter-long base in soft soil. This tower's architecture was flawed from the start.


The Leaning Tower of Pisa, with its basically pure beauty and folly, is one of the world's most iconic structures. Yet beneath that famed incline lies a fascinating history of looting, dangerous topsoil, hundreds of centuries of technical blunders, and one proud Italian ruler.


There is also the Pisa Italy Map here:


 If you've ever wondered what happened to history's most famous architectural error, here are 15 intriguing facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.



1- The tower was constructed to attract (with stolen money)


Pisa had a prosperous 12th century, with the city's military, economic, and political prominence growing as its formerly modest harbor evolved into a regional powerhouse. Pisa, like every affluent medieval Italian city, proceeded to spend its newfound money on the construction of spectacular structures. The city administration needed a location to showcase all of the valuables brought from Sicily after destroying Palermo in 1063, so they chose to build the "Field of Wonders," which would ultimately house a Cathedral, Temple, cemetery, and one extremely tall bell tower. In truth, the tower was intended to be the highest of its day, and it might have been if conditions hadn't intervened.



2- The initial purpose for the Pisa Leaning Tower's construction


As previously stated, the tower was the last component of a larger architectural complex at Piazza dei Miracoli. The motive for the development of the tower and the entire complex is Pisa's desire to show off. Indeed, in the 11th century, the city succeeded in conquering the Sicilian Palermo and desired to construct a structure to house all the new riches in its possession. The governor of Pisa authorized the establishment of the Cathedral thanks to the enormous wealth obtained from the devastation.



3- The lean was not achieved overnight


Given that the name "Pisa" is derived from the Greek term for "marshy country," you'd think that the cathedral's designers would have considered the subsoil while constructing a particularly tall bell tower. They didn't do it. They accidentally doomed the skyscraper from the start by providing it with a shallow and comparatively hefty base. The tower didn't start to lean to one side until the second level was constructed, though. Regrettably, it was far late to turn around. As the building progressed, the builders attempted to compensate for their error by adding larger columns and domes on the southern sides of the tower.


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4- That is not Pisa's only leaning tower.


Because of the area's porous subsoil, there are multiple Leaning towers of Pisa. After the actual Leaning Tower of Pisa, the clock tower of the Cathedral of St. Nicola is possibly the most famous. Its octagonal bell tower, built about the same period as the tower in 1170, has a minor but undeniable droop. There's also the bell tower of St. Michele dei Scalzi Church on Viale delle Piagge. The word "Piagge" really derives from the Latin for "low plains prone to water." Despite their intellect, the medieval Pisans were not very excellent at noticing historical warnings.


5- The Tower is not only tilted but also curved.


Apart from the tilting, the tower's construction is bent in one place. It was caused by the terrified engineers who attempted to repair the first tilting. Indeed, they believed that by making one side of the higher stories taller than the other, they might have remedied the problem.


6- Galileo Galilei's historic experiments 


When Pisa's renowned son, Galileo Galilei, required a tall structure for his studies on mass against velocity, the Leaning Tower was the obvious choice. According to legend, he released two cannonballs of varying sizes from the summit of the Tower. They apparently both hit the floor at the same time, and a theory was born!


7- The Hollow Inside Leaning Tower of Pisa.


The Tower contains absolutely nothing! From top to bottom, it is completely a hollow cylinder. Yet it does not disappoint; the difference between the outer and the inside is rather striking.


8- You can reach the summit.


That's correct, the world's most renowned structurally unstable structure is now available to the public. However, really, the structure's integrity has been continually examined since its repair and small un-tilting, and the building accommodates significant numbers of people every day. If you desire to reach the top, you need to buy your tickets ahead of time.


9- The tower has sagged in several places.


Throughout hundreds of years, several engineers attempted to remedy the legendary lean. As construction on the third floor resumed in the 13th century, engineers attempted to counteract the tilt by constructing straight up, but the tower's center of gravity was thrown off, and it just started to lean in a different direction. As work progressed, the tower finally returned to its southerly tilt, where it has remained ever since.


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10- The lean produces some unexpected imbalances.


Pisa's leaning tower was planned to be 60 meters tall (196.85 feet). Nevertheless, after the lean, the tallest side of the tower is only 56.67 meters (approximately 186 feet), whereas the lower side is 55.86 meters (183 feet).


By 1990, the tower had a lean of 5.5 degrees, approximately 15 feet from its bottom, and sufficient to topple it according to most estimations! Fortunately, the significant tilt was sufficient to overcome the world-famous lethargy of Italian bureaucracy and launch a large restoration campaign that decreased the tilt to *only* 3.97 degrees. Due to the tower's original design, the north side stairway has approximately 296 steps to the summit, whereas the south side has just 294.


11- The top seven bells have not sounded since the previous century.


Each of these massive bells (the heaviest weighing approximately 8,000 pounds) signifies a major scale musical note. Though you can still observe them if you reach the summit of the tower, they haven't tolled since the twentieth century for obvious reasons. Restorers and engineers were concerned that their actions might cause the tower to tilt even further.


12- Mussolini disliked the tower and aggravated it.


Benito Mussolini, Italy's 20th-century dictator, was embarrassed by the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He saw its erroneous construction and eventual lean as a national humiliation and a stain on Italy's prestige. As with many of the shortcomings he saw in Italy, he set out to correct them. It did not proceed as smoothly as some of his other endeavors, such as emptying the wetlands of Sicily. The plan was to make hundreds of holes in the tower's foundation and pump in cement and mortar to effectively ballast and straighten the entire structure. In truth, all this did was build an even heavier base, causing the tower to tilt even more than before.


13- During WWII, the Allies planned to destroy the tower. 


American forces were given instructions to destroy any and all buildings in Italy that may serve as vantage spots or "nests" for German snipers. In truth, the Germans who occupied Italy at the time frequently used the tower as a lookout, but when the Allies came, they were so taken with the grandeur of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the accompanying Fields of Wonders that they opted not to level the area.


14- The Tower was not destructed by US troops.


The German usage of the tower came dangerously close to succeeding where gravity had failed in toppling the structure down. As the advancing United States Army was tasked with destroying all enemy buildings and supplies in 1944, soldiers were too enthralled by the landmark tower's visual attractions to order artillery to tear it down. According to veteran Leon Weckstein in a 2000 conversation with The Guardian, US forces traversing the terrains of Axis-occupied Pisa were so enthralled by the sight of the Leaning Tower that they were unable to call for a salvo of fire. Weckstein recalls planning an attack on the Nazi stronghold before escaping and leaving the majestic tower alone.


15- The tower is now stable.


The tower has withstood generations of well-intentioned but mistaken attempts to correct it, including many engineers who built floors and arches of varying heights and one enthusiastic group that excavated around the tower to open a subterranean tour.  But, in the twenty-first century, someone got it right, and the tower was officially pronounced stable for at least the next 200 years in 2001. Engineers discovered in 2008 that the tower is no longer shifting, marking the first time in its existence that it has not been gradually listing to one side.


Let's just hope we have the expertise to preserve the tower for another 200 years!



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Fawad Hassan

As a nature enthusiast and writer, one of my favorite things to do is to share the stories of my most memorable travel experiences at the various locations I visit. I am an extreme thrill seeker who constantly makes it a point to organize my vacations around going on trips. At best, I'm a solitary traveler, but I find that it's more enjoyable when I'm in the company of others. One day I hope to embark on a tour throughout the world!

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