A Little History of The Leaning Tower of Pisa

It took 3 phases and 177 years to build the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The architect Bonanno Pisano began its construction in 1173 with the first floor which was surrounded by 15 white marble columns with classical capitals and blind arches. With the construction of the third floor in 1178, the tower tilted by 5 cm. to the south-east, due to the unstable subsoil on which it was raised, thus ceasing its construction. This period was very important because it allowed the land to settle, otherwise, the tower would have collapsed.

Credit: deviantart.com

Giovanni di Simone, 100 years later, resumed work trying to compensate for the inclination of the tower by building four floors vertically, however, the results were not as expected, the bell tower was still inclined and the works stopped again. In 1298 a pluviometric deviation of 1.43 m was measured and 60 years later this figure had increased to 1.63 m. Tommaso Pisano continued the construction of the bell tower finishing the work in 1372. According to Vasari, Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni have the merit of this work.

The inclination of the tower slowed down in the following centuries, it is believed that its weight is an important factor that allows a certain stabilization of the building. The architect Alessandro Gherardesca made the first restoration in 1835 eliminating the muddy ground and replacing it with a marble base. The result was tremendous and caused a new inclination and in 1918 the deviation of the lead line reached 5.1 m. Until 1990, the slope of the tower continued to increase from 1 to 1.2 mm. per year.

What is the Tower of Pisa today?

The Tower of Pisa, also known as the “Leaning Tower of Pisa”, is located in the city of Pisa, exactly in Piazza del Duomo known as “Piazza Dei Miracoli”. This famous tower began to tilt as soon as its construction began in 1173. The Leaning Tower of Pisa measures 55.86 meters high with an estimated weight of 14,700 tons and an inclination of about 4 ° extending to 3.9 m of the vertical. In 1964 the Italian government asked for help to prevent the Tower of Pisa from collapsing.

In 1987, UNESCO declared the entire monumental complex of the Piazza Dei Miracoli a World Heritage Site. In 1990 the Leaning Tower closed its doors to the public as a safety measure and after several renovations, on June 16 2001 it reopened again.

Curiosities about the Tower of Pisa

Did you know that there is a legend that says that Galileo Galilei dropped two cannonballs from the Tower of Pisa? He intended to demonstrate that the speed of the fall was independent of mass.

Did you know that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not the most leaning tower in the world? The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 3.97 degrees of inclination to the south, however the most inclined tower in the world has an inclination of almost 5.07 degrees and is in Lower Saxony, it is the bell tower of Suurhusen.

Why visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

The Tower of Pisa is a true jewel of Romanesque art. It is also a monument that has gained importance over the centuries with its pronounced inclination creating admiration and concern for experts and tourists. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been proposed as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world!

This tower is the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in the Piazza del Duomo and is 55.86 meters high, 8 floors, and about 294 steps. The 8 floors are surrounded by a loggia with arches that reproduce the motif of the facade of the Cathedral and has 7 bells on the top floor of the Tower, its names are Assumption, the largest and heaviest, Crucifix, San Ranieri, Dal Pozzo, Pasquereccia, Terza and Vespruccio. At the moment they continue to play before the start of the Cathedral masses and at noon thanks to an electronic system.

How can I visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

To visit this inimitable attraction we recommend that you book a guided tour of Pisa and the Leaning Tower to discover and deepen the history of these wonderful places thanks to the explanations of an expert guide.

Other attractions in the area

Pisa is best known for its Leaning Tower, however, this city offers many other attractions such as its splendid “Piazza Dei Miracoli” or the Piazza Della Cattedrale where we can see the cathedral and the baptistery as well as the Leaning Tower. Along the perimeter of the square, we also find the Camposanto, the Museo dell’ Opera, and the Museo delle Sinopie. Enjoy a walk along the Arno until you reach the ancient Palazzo dell’ Orologio and Piazza Dei Cavalieri where the prestigious “Scuola Normale di Pisa” is located.