” Tower of Pisa ”

Angels Statue, Pisa Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa) (forefront), The Leaning Tower of Pisa (background), Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”). Pisa, Tuscany, Central Italy.

Known among Italians as Torre Pendente di Pisa, this piece of architecture is significally different from most medieval architecture. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is located on the city’s main square, Piazza del Duomo.

The construction of the Tower began in 1173. Originally designed to be a bell tower, it stood upright for over 5 years, but when the third floorwas completed in 1178 it began to lean. Italians were shocked by the event, as the tower began to lean ever so slightly.

The thing is the foundation of the tower, which is only 3-meter deep, was built on a dense clay mixture. This mix impacted the soil and furthermore the clay was not  strong enough to hold the tower upright. As a result the weight of the tower began to diffuse downward until it had found the weakest point.

Due to this problem, construction works stopped for 100 years.

Mistake after mistake!

After 100 years, engineer Giovanni di Simone stepped forward and started to add more floors to the tower. He tried to compensate for the original lean by making one side of the upper floors taller than the other. This only caused the tower to lean over even more…

Unconcerned by the leaning, the tower was added a 7th floor in the second part of the 14th century, as well as a bell tower, and then the tower was left on its own until the 19th century.

In 1838 architect Alessandro Della Gherardesca, dug a pathway at the base of the tower to allow people to admire the intricately crafted base. This caused the tower to lean even more, probably due to the digging of its base.

In 1987 the Leaning Tower of Pisa was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, together with the entire Piazza Del Duomo, but in 1990 it was closed. Its bells were removed and the tower was anchored, only to reopen in 2001.Tourists now can safely visit the leaning tower of Pisa!

[SOURCE: romeprivateguides.com]

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