The Leaning Tower of Pisa – an Iconic Tuscan Landmark
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (known as Torre pendente di Pisa in Italian) is the freestanding bell tower of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, in the stunning region of Tuscany. This structure is easily one of the most recognizable buildings in the world – and it’s a must-visit for anyone who plans on staying in this part of central Italy for a holiday.
Fun facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Why is the tower leaning?
The word Pisa comes from the Greek word for marshy land – and unfortunately, the architects didn’t take this into account when building the tall bell tower. It didn’t help that the building is shallow and has quite a heavy foundation, either.
While all seemed okay at first, it only started to sink on one side when the second story was being constructed – and by this point, it was too late to turn back. The builders tried to rectify their mistake by adding taller columns and arches on the south side of the tower – but when they reached the 4th story (out of the 8 they originally planned), they had to make adjustments that unfortunately still didn’t quite work out. At a loss, the builders gave up for almost 10 years.
The tower hasn’t always leaned in the same direction
Numerous engineers had tried to correct the lean over hundreds of years – although they clearly didn’t see much success. When construction on the 3rd story began, engineers tried to stop the tilt by building the tower straight upwards. However, this threw the structures’ centre of gravity off balance and it instead started to lean in a different direction.
As construction continued, it settled back into a southward tilt, where it has stayed ever since; becoming one of the most famous attractions in Tuscany.
The bell tower is stable
There’s no need to worry about the stability of the world-famous Tuscan landmark, as it’s currently stable. After so many years of engineers trying and failing to right it, someone finally did during the 21st century. In 2001, it was declared that the leaning Tower of Pisa would be stable for at least the next 200 years – and in 2008, engineers discovered that the building was no longer moving.
You can climb the tower
Believe it or not, visitors are allowed to climb up the leaning bell tower. Since its restoration, the structure’s integrity has been closely monitored and has been deemed to be safe for quite some time; in fact, large amounts of visitors climb to the top of the building every single day. If you want to have the chance to reach the top of the bell tower, be sure to book your tickets in advance.