Leaning Tower of Pisa Facts

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

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

If you plan to visit the tower, you will be interested in reading some fun facts about the Tower of Pisa. Happy reading!

1. It Took Two Centuries to Construct

Construction of the bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral began in August 1173.

By 1178, when the third floor was under construction, the tower was already slightly tilting to the north. 

However, military conflicts interrupted construction, leading to several pauses and delays. 

Ultimately, the tower was completed in the early 14th century, with the installation of the bell chamber in 1372.

Learn more about the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s fascinating history to understand its tilt and significance.

2. What Causes the Tower to Lean?

The infamous tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is simply because of a weak foundation! 

Situated on unstable terrain formed by sand and clay from the Arno and Serchio rivers, the tower faced structural challenges from the outset. 

The builders recognized this issue during construction. However, by then, the tower was already three stories high, and today, the tower stands over 55 meters (180 feet) tall.

3. The Lean Switched Directions 

Construction of the tower faced many halts and delays. 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. 

With the addition of fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh stories, the once-northward-leaning structure began to tip southward!

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

4. The Lean Continued…

As time passed, the ground weakened under the tower’s weight. 

An early 0.2-degree tilt gradually increased over the centuries, peaking at 5.5 degrees 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 restoration 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.

Read in detail about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to uncover fascinating insights into its construction, historical significance, and ongoing preservation efforts.

5. Do you Know the Tower could Tilt again!

Unless further efforts are undertaken to prevent leaning in the future, 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.

6. Steps to the Top

The Leaning Tower has 296 steps to the top. It is possible to climb the steps to the top and enjoy a spectacular view. 

The official number of steps is a mystery. Some people count 251, 294 or even 300 steps. 

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

7. There are More Leaning Towers in Pisa!

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

The bell tower of St. Nicola Church, a 12th-century church about half a mile south of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is the next most famous leaning structure in Pisa.

Next, St. Michele dei Scalzi, an 11th-century church about two miles east of the pair, follows the two leaning towers.

8. The Leaning Towers in the Guinness Book!

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 Suurhusen, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, officially surpassed its Pisani rival in leaning.

Guinness record keepers calculated that the Suurhusen 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.

9. 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.

10. The Tower served as Vantage Point during WWII

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.

Hence, the tower was used as a lookout point to help the German army.

Fascinated by these facts? It’s time to see it in person! Check out the best ticket options and book your spot today!

11. Tower Charms the American Troops 

When American soldiers arrived in Pisa in 1944, tasked with destroying enemy buildings, they were captivated by the tower’s beauty and decided not to destroy it. 

According to Leon Weckstein, an American soldier interviewed in 2000, troops were so mesmerized by the sight that they couldn’t bring themselves to attack it, ultimately leaving the tower untouched.

You can read the full Guardian article here.

12. The Tower of Pisa and Galileo’s Experiment

One of Renaissance physicist Galileo Galilei’s most renowned discoveries was the principle that gravity affects objects equally regardless of their mass.

Legend states that Galileo experimented atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 1589, dropping a cannonball and a musket ball to prove his theory. 

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.

13. The Tower has Seven Bells

There are seven bells on the tower’s top! The heavy bells are unique as each corresponds to one of the seven musical notes of a major scale.

However, they rang over a century ago. 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! 

FAQs

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 its tilt, about 5.5 degrees from the perpendicular, by the late 20th century. With restoration efforts, the tilt is now less than 4 degrees.

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

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

Has the Leaning Tower of Pisa ever been featured in any popular films or literature?

Are there any notable events or ceremonies that have taken place at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Featured Image: Opapisa.it

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