Leaning Tower of Pisa facts

The tilting of the Leaning Tower has made Pisa one of the most famous Italian cities in the world. 

Pisa is one of the most well-known Italian cities in the world, thanks to its tilt. 

Even though there is much more to see in Pisa, we must admit that the Leaning Tower is usually why tourists want to visit the city. 

The 57-meter-tall tower stands in the picturesque Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as the Square of Miracles. 

In one of his works, the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio used these words to describe this surprisingly beautiful location.

If you are yet to go, we’re sure you will be interested in visiting after reading some fun facts about the Tower of pisa.

It took two centuries to construct

In August 1173, work began on a campanile, or bell tower, to accompany the public cathedral in the Italian riverside city of Pisa. 

Workers had reached the third story of the structure, which was already tilting slightly to the north, by 1178. 

Military conflicts with other Italian states would quickly halt construction, which would not resume until 1272. 

This time, construction lasted only 12 years before being halted again by another war. 

Construction resumed in the early 14th century, culminating in installing a bell-chamber in 1372.

The tower sways due to ill-conceived design plans

While unforeseeable bad luck contributes to some architectural disasters, better planning could have prevented the signature tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Even in the early stages of construction, the building’s shallow foundation and the soft ground of Pisa – composed of sand and clay. 

The Tuscan rivers Arno and Serchio deposits were too unstable to support it. 

Surprisingly, the builders caught this mistake early in the two-century construction project. 

When they added a second story to the tower, the ground began to sag, resulting in the infamous slant.

The tower’s lean switched directions at one point

When construction resumed in 1272, the new developments did not help the tower’s position. 

Adding new stories on top of the existing three shifted the building’s center of gravity, causing the tilt to reverse. 

As the tower’s fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh stories were added, the once-northward-leaning structure began to tip southward.

Witness the leaning wonder by purchasing tickets to the Leaning Tower of Pisa now and go on a gravity-defying experience!

The lean continued to get even worse

As time passed, the ground beneath the tower’s weight weakened even more. 

An early 0.2-degree tilt gradually increased over the centuries, peaking at 5.5 degrees (or the top 15 feet south of the bottom) by 1990. 

Over the next decade, engineers leveled the soil beneath the tower and installed anchoring mechanisms to correct the landmark’s nearly catastrophic lean. 

The project gave the tower a more secure stance but did not stop it from tipping over. 

By 2008, however, a second attempt at balancing the foundational soil had, for the first time, stopped the tower’s continued slouching.

The tower may still return to tilting.

Unless further efforts are undertaken to prevent future leaning, experts anticipate the tower will maintain stability for the next 200 years.

If everything else remains constant, the ground should begin to give way again in the early 23rd century, allowing the tilt to resume gradually.

The engineer in charge was not a field expert

On paper, there were better candidates than John Burland for a project like stabilizing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

Burland admits that soil mechanics, the engineering field, played a critical role in the tower’s stabilization. 

He eventually overcame his aversion to this subject to become a professor at Imperial College London (and, of course, save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from total collapse).

The Leaning Tower has 296 steps to the top

It is possible to climb to the top and enjoy a spectacular city view. 

There are 296 steps to climb and no lift available, but the view from the top is well worth the effort. 

The official number of steps is a mystery. Some people do count 294 or even 300 steps. 

The only way to learn is to go inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa and climb it yourself.

Pisa’s leaning tower is one of many leaning towers in Pisa

Several other Pisani structures have foundational instability because of the river city’s soft ground. 

San Nicola, a 12th-century church about half a mile south of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and San Michele degli Scalzi, an 11th-century church about two miles east of the pair, are two examples. 

While San Nicola’s base is buried beneath the earth, San Michele degli Scalzi has a significant 5-degree tilt.

Other towers have complemented its famous lean

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous building in the world for its diagonal posture, but several others have challenged it. 

In 2009, the German steeple, the Leaning Tower of Surhuusen, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, officially surpassed its Pisani rival in leaning.

Guinness record keepers calculated that the Surhuusen tower’s tilt extended 1.2 degrees further than Pisa’s, which had been modified from its pre-1990s peak of 5.5 degrees to a less-drastic 3.97 degrees. 

Another German tower, Bad Frankenhausen’s 14th-century church Oberkirche, and the shorter Two Towers of Bologna with 4.8-degree and 4-degree leans have surpassed the Pisa Tower.

Mussolini attempted to repair the tower

In 1934, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared the crooked attraction a blot on his country’s reputation and allocated funds to straighten it. 

Mussolini’s men drilled hundreds of holes into its foundation to correct the tower’s tilt and pumped tons of grout. 

Instead, the weight of the cement caused the tower’s base to sink deeper into the soil, resulting in an even more severe lean.

During WWII, the tower served as a military base

Despite the tower’s distinctive silhouette, the German army considered it a prime lookout point during World War II because it provided optimal surveillance over the surrounding flat terrain.

American troops did not destroy the Tower of Pisa. 

The German use of the tower came dangerously close to succeeding where gravity had failed in bringing the tower down. 

When the advancing United States Army was tasked with destroying all enemy buildings and resources in 1944, soldiers were too enthralled by the iconic tower’s aesthetic charms to order artillery to bring it down. 

Leon Weckstein, in a 2000 interview with The Guardian, American troops traversing the terrains of Axis-occupied Pisa were so enthralled by the sight of the Leaning Tower that they could not call for a volley of fire. 

Weckstein recalls planning an attack on the Nazi base before retreating and leaving the beautiful tower alone.

Galileo might not have dropped a cannonball from the mountain

Among the most famous discoveries of Renaissance physicist Galileo Galilei was that gravity’s effect on an object is the same regardless of its mass. 

This epiphany is said to have struck Galileo while he was atop Pisa’s Leaning Tower, from which he allegedly dropped a cannonball and a musket ball in 1589. 

The scientist’s biography, written by disciple Vincenzo Viviani, is the only official claim that such an experiment occurred.

Modern scholars such as Paolo Palmieri and James Robert Brown argue that the Leaning Tower of Pisa test was only Galileo’s thought experiment.

Viviani exaggerated it to enhance the grandeur of Galileo’s discovery, but it was never carried out.

An Antarctica rock dome is named after the tower

Despite being discovered by the French Antarctic Expedition, a particularly massive rock dome in the Geologie Archipelago of the seventh continent is named after Italy’s prized tower. 

The 27-meter-long formation, discovered on Rostand Island in 1951, has earned the nickname “Tour de Pise” due to its resemblance to the building.

The Tower has seven massive bells

Seven massive bells were installed on the tower’s top to represent the bell tower of the nearby cathedral. 

The heavy bells are unique in that each has a name corresponding to one of the seven musical notes. 

However, they rang over a century ago. Indeed, many engineers are concerned about vibrations compromising the tilting and causing the tower to lean further.

Are you prepared for a breathtaking sight that will leave you speechless? 
Purchase tickets to the Tower of Pisa to see the incredible tilt that has mesmerized people for ages! 


What is special about the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a medieval structure in Pisa, Italy. 

It is famous for settling its foundations, which had caused it to learn about 15 feet (4.5 meters) from the perpendicular by the late 20th century.

How did they stop the Leaning Tower of Pisa from falling?

Engineers used soil extraction to dig a series of tunnels on the north side of the Tower and remove small amounts of earth. (The Tower leans to the south) 

Steel cables assisted in returning it to its original position.

A 1990 stabilization project reduced the dangerous lean of the quirky monument by 15 inches.

The Tower has straightened out by an additional 1.6 inches since 2001. However, the latest results show that it fluctuates by 0.02 inches annually.

Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa a wonder of the world?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was named one of the Seven Wonders of the World because of its exceptional Romanesque architecture, sheer size, and miraculous ability to lean while remaining stationary.

Featured Image: Opapisa.it

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