Leaning Tower of Pisa
Historic Building and Tower in Pisa
Every child is familiar with it, and almost every visitor to Pisa makes their way to the world’s most renowned tower: La Torre Pendente, or the Leaning Tower, situated adjacent to the cathedral.
Its construction began in 1173 during Pisa’s heyday as Italy’s dominant maritime republic, and its design, resembling a loggia, was inspired by the facade of the cathedral. However, even before reaching the third level, the tower started leaning significantly on its southern side. Despite attempts to counterbalance it by adjusting the north side and increasing the height of the south walls, the sinking persisted, leading to the suspension of construction.
Almost a century later, in 1272, efforts to correct the tilt recommenced, involving an inclination of the upper stories towards the vertical. The tower’s open bell-chamber was later added between 1350 and 1372 by Tommaso Pisano.
For many years, tourists were allowed to climb the spiral staircase of 294 steps to the top platform. However, with the tilt increasing at a rate of one millimeter per year, experts projected that the tower would collapse by the year 2000. Detecting rotational movement around the axis further added to the risks, prompting the closure of the tower in 1990 for an extensive and costly restoration program.
When the tower reopened in 2001, the tilt had been successfully reduced from 5.5 degrees to approximately 3.99 degrees, resulting in a slight misalignment of the top by 3.9 meters. Observers may also notice a gentle curve in the tower, a testament to the various architectural efforts made during its construction to rectify its leaning.
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