15 Interesting facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Bell Tower 1173-1372
A fascinating building for me to see in Italy was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How can it lean as it does and still keep standing after hundreds of years since its construction? The squishy, soft earth hardened around it and has kept it up, but leaning, since the late 1100's when construction began.
It is a beautiful bell tower and observation tower when one climbs to the top. I wouldn't know about that though, because I only made it to about the third floor and I became so dizzy and nauseated, I couldn't continue to the top. This happened because of the angle it leans at. I get motion sickness and vertigo very easily and the Leaning Tower of Pisa set this off in me. If you can climb to the top of this leaning tower you are of stronger constitution than I am.
I have been told the view from the top of Pisa and the surrounding area is quite beautiful. I wouldn't know. If or when you visit this tower, I hope you make it to the top. Good Luck! or as they say in Italian, Buona Fortuna!
1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a campanile or a freestanding bell tower located behind the cathedral in the city of Pisa, region of Tuscany in Italy.
2. The height of the tower is 55.86 meters (183 ft.) on the low side and 56.70 meters (186 ft) on the high side, and it has seven floors and an observation deck at the top.
3. It weights approximately 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons)
4. The architect is credited as being Bonanno Pisano and he laid the foundation of the tower in August 1173.
5. Unfortunately, the three meter foundation was flawed from the beginning because it was laid in weak, unstable subsoil. The tilt began during construction because the ground was too soft on one side to properly support the weight of the tower.
6, The tilt of the tower increased over time before it was completed. And, it gradually increased until the tower was stabilized and the tilt partially corrected in the 20th and 21st centuries.
7. The tower has a total of 296 steps to the top and the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north side facing staircase because of the tilt.
8. Before restoration in the 1990s and 2000s the tower leaned at a 5.5 degree angle.
9. Today the tower leans at approximately 3.99 degrees. The top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.1 meters (12 ft 10 in) from where it should be if the structure were perfectly vertical.
10. Construction took place over three phases and 344 years. It is constructed of marble and the ground floor is a blind arcade with engaged columns with classical Corinthian capitals. Each phase of construction was interrupted by wars in which the city-state of Pisa was involved.
11. The second phase of construction continued in 1272. The architect now was Giovani di Simone, also architect of the Campasanto. He built the upper floors with one side taller than the other. Therefore, the tower is actually curved.
12. The third phase of construction continued in 1319. The seventh floor was built by architect Tommaso di Andrea Pisano. He brought together the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber with the Romanesque style of the tower.
13. There are seven bells in the tower. Each bell is one note of the musical major scale.
14. The bell chamber was constructed and added in 1372.
15. The home page for the Leaning Tower of Pisa is: http://www.opapisa.it/en/home-page.html
Copyright 2013 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved
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