The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous structures in the world due to its legendary tilt. Constructed as the bell tower to accompany the cathedral, the tower began to shift on its foundations in 1178, before the architect, Bonanno Pisano, had completed the first three tiers.
The construction of the Tower was started in the year 1174 by Bonanno Pisano. When it had reached its third storey the works ceased because it had started sinking into the ground. The tower remained thus for 90 years. It was completed by Giovanni di Simone, Tommano Simone (son of Andreo Pisano), crowned the tower with the belfry at half of 14th century.
The top of the Leaning Tower can be reached by mounting the 294 steps which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls.
Cylindrical in shape the Tower is supplied with six open galleries. A cornice separates these galleries one from the other and each presents a series of small arches fitted on the capitals of the slender columns. In the base there is a series of big blind arcades with geometrical decorations.
The foundations of the Tower have been strengthened by the injection of cement grout and various types of bracing and reinforcement, but in the late 20th century the structure was still subsiding, at the rate of 0.05 inch (1.2 mm) per year, and was in danger of collapse. In 1990 it was closed and all the bells silenced as engineers undertook a major straightening project. Earth was siphoned from underneath the foundations, decreasing the lean by 17 inches (44 cm) to 13.5 feet (4.1 metres). The work was completed in May 2001, and the structure was reopened to visitors. The tower continued to straighten without further excavation, until in May 2008 sensors showed that the motion had finally stopped, at a total improvement of 19 inches (48 cm). Engineers expected the tower to remain stable for at least 200 years.
Location: Campo dei Miracoli, 56100, Pisa
Nearby hotels: Hotel San Ranieri, Hotel Alessandro della Spina, Hotel Pisa Tower
Nearby sights: Piazza dei Miracoli, Duomo Pisa, Battistero
Official website: http://www.opapisa.it/visita/torre-pendente/
Tel.: 50 835011/12