The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a white marble belfry of a cathedral. It is known for its uneven foundation, which is why it was at one point tilted at an angle of 5.5 degrees (about 4.5 meters). The tower of Pisa is one of the most famous buildings in the world, having been built in stages over a period of nearly two hundred years. The construction started in August 1173 as the third and last building of the city church complex and it was meant to be 56 meters high. When only the first two floors were constructed (out of seven floors), it was noticed that the base of the tower was sinking into a soft surface. Further construction works were continued and interrupted on many occasions as engineers were searching for a solution. Eventually, the tower, still somewhat tilted, was completed in 1372.

The main architect of the project was Bonano Pisano. At the onset, he made an error and made a foundation only three meters deep, although the soil was soft and unstable. Unstable soil, which could not carry the weight of the building, resulted in the tower leaning to the right. Bonano worked for over a decade on this project and he managed to construct only three out of seven floors. In 1185, Bonano suddenly disappeared and even today, there is no certainty whatsoever, what may have happened to this architect.

Shortly afterwards, the war broke out between Genova and Pisa, which put the work on the tower of Pisa for over a century on hold.  The construction work was resumed in 1272 by architect Giovanni di Simone who wanted to prevent the tower from leaning any further by propping its foundations with additional construction material in lower ground layers. However, this turned out to be a bad idea because the added weight literally whisked the tower even further, which is why the tower slanted further. As mentioned already, the original plan was accomplished in 1372, when all seven tower floors were constructed.

The Tower leaning continued, 1,2mm, each year which led to its closure to public in 1990. In the meantime, engineers worked continuously on improving the tower foundations and searching for a solution that would save this building from collapsing. The result was that the slant was reduced by 44cm, thus the tower returned in the condition from the 19th century. Lead tassels were set as counterweight to the leaning side of the tower. This additionally reinforced the entire structure that was open to public again in 2001.

From 1987, the Tower of Pisa is on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Ticket price for the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Regular price for the Tower of Pisa + the Cathedral of Pisa 18 euro.

Working hours of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Working hours of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

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