The Leaning Tower of Pisa is, without a doubt, the most famous symbol of the Tuscan city and one of the most iconic monuments in the whole of Italy.
Where is the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
The Leaning Tower is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, located in the heart of the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa.
Measuring 57 meters in height, rising to 58.36 if you also factor in the foundation level, it was built between the 12th and 14th centuries in the Romanesque style to a design by the architect, Bonanno Pisano.
Work on it began in August 1173 and continued up to about a quarter of the fourth floor in 1178.
Construction was halted for almost a century before the project was restarted in 1272 by Giovanni di Simone.
It took six years to reach the seventh and eighth floor. During 1278, the work was once again interrupted.
It was Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, in 1360, who finally managed to complete the belfry which was finished in 1370 when the bells were installed.
The main body of the tower is a hollow cylinder made of two facings, outer and inner. The cavity is filled with rubble, i.e. irregular brick and stone blocks cemented with lime.
The outer and inner walls up to the sixth floor are lined with San Giuliano marble.
The upper part is made of lighter limestone.
There are two rooms inside the structure of the Tower:
• The sala del Pesce at the base of the tower, so-called because there is a bas-relief of a fish in it. It is a room without a ceiling because it is the hollow part of the tower;
• The belfry which is on the seventh floor. It is surrounded by the walls of the upper walkway and is also open to the sky. There is an opening in the center from where you can see the ground floor of the tower.
Part of the structure also has three flights of stairs:
• The first is interrupted and starts from the base to the sixth floor;
• The second is a spiral staircase and leads from the sixth to the seventh floor;
• The third, again a spiral staircase, leads from the seventh floor to the top.
The tower has 7 bells, the largest of which is “L’Assunta”, cast in 1655 weighing 2.5 tons in total.
The oldest is “Pasquareccia”, cast in 1262.
You have to climb 294 steps to reach the belfry!
The tower consists of seven floors, seven levels representing the seven ways of Christ, the seven stages of life, the seven harmonic spheres through which the soul must pass with the help of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to reach God.
Why is the leaning tower of Pisa leaning
A unique and highly original feature is its curved line, with a series of arcades and six floors of loggias.
The building leans at an angle of 3.97° compared to the vertical axis.
The tilt is caused by the subsidence of the ground on which the base of the bell tower stands.
This occurred during the first stage of the project, when work was interrupted when it reached halfway through the third floor.
This was caused by the unstable ground made up of normally consolidated soft clay.
During 1275, work was restarted with the construction of three more floors, also built in an attempt to straighten the tower.
These three floors, in fact, tend to curve in the opposite direction of the lean.
The inclination of the Tower of Pisa over the years:
• 0.2°: the inclination reached in 1272, when the work was restarted after a long pause;
• 0.6°: the inclination reached in 1278, when the seventh floor was reached;
• 1.6°: the inclination reached in 1370, when the belfry was built;
• 5°: the inclination reached in 1817 on the survey of the two British architects, Cresy and Taylor;
• 5.5°: the maximum inclination reached in 1993;
• 3.9°: the current inclination reached in 2001 after the work carried out from 1990 onwards.
Has the Tower ever fallen over?
The tower has never once collapsed over the centuries, neither when it was being built nor when it was being restored.
The reason is simple: the center of gravity is within the area of the base of the tower.
In practical terms, the center of gravity lies within the building. It is the point where the total weight of the tower is concentrated. If you join the point of the center of gravity to the center of the base of the tower, then a straight line is drawn that falls within the area of the base of the tower. Nel momentoWhen the center of gravity line no longer falls within the base, then the tower will topple over. in cui la linea del baricentro non ricadrà più nella base, allora la torre cadrà.
In addition, a significant amount of work has been carried out over the years to balance the weight of the tower and slow its fall in the future due to earth movements.
Inside the leaning tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa inside is nothing more than a giant cylinder. There is just a spiral staircase that leads from the base to the belfry.
The staircase is quite narrow. Only one visitor at a time can go up or down it.
As you go up the stairs, you can clearly see and perceive the tilt of the tower.
Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa falling?
Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa falling?
Having understood why is the leaning tower of Pisa leaning, it is natural to wonder if it is going to fall over.
Despite its visible tilt, the structure is very sound. The line of the center of gravity falls within the area of the tower base which prevents it from toppling over.
It has also been the focus of major stabilization work over the years. n particular, it was closed from January 1990 until June 2001. Eleven years during which structural work was carried out that reduced the building’s tilt by forty-four centimeters.
Photos of the Tower
Scroll through our gallery to see the most beautiful leaning tower of Pisa photos.