The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)

FROM The man in the front seat / July 20, 2013

Without a doubt one of the most recognisable monuments in Italy. Built as the bell tower for the cathedral it was begun on August 14 1173 with the bell tower being added in 1372.

The tower today has a height of 55.86m (183.27ft), with its width at the base being 4.09m (13.42ft) and at the top 2.48m (8.14ft). in total it weighs 14,500 metric tonnes and is accessible through 296 steps. Before the restoration work, which saw the tower closed, in 1990 the tower had a lean of 5.5 degrees but after its completion this was reduced to 3,99 degrees. All this means that the top of the tower is today 3.9m (12ft 10in) off centre.

The tower began to tilt quite early as the its architect Bonanno Pisano decided use foundations that were only 3m (10ft) deep. It was halted in four years later in 1278, with two floors completed, as it began to sink due to the foundations not being deep enough for the alluvial soil. For almost 100 years it remained untouched which gave the time for the soil to settle, if building continued it would surely of fallen.

Work resumed in 1272 with the new architect continuing with the building at the third level but attempting to correct the lean by building one side high than the other. So the tower now not only leans it is curved also. Due to war, the construction was halted again in 1284 and re-begun 1319 with the bell tower being added in 1372.

When the Civic Tower of Pavia collapsed in 1989 it was decided to close the tower, remove its bells and support it with cables attached to a nearby crane. 70 metric tonnes of soil where removed and new foundations inserted and one side raised moving the tower 45cm (18in) back to centre and in 2008 eventually re-opened to the public.

The tower is today a great example of how to make money from an error.

A guided visit of Pisa in included on:

FLO17: San Gimignano & Pisa Excursion

 

 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)
The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
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