“The leaning Tower of Pisa needs no introduction but to experience it fully you do need to get up early, then you can wander around it alone and marvel at how it stood for so long. Here is the Leaning Tower of Pisa story and I hope you like my photos of it”, Paul Williams.
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Photos of the Iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa,, Italy
One of the worlds great Iconic buildings is the Leaning Tower Of Pisa. Without a lean the tower would still be magnificent 12th century Italian Campanile, with a lean the tower has gained iconic status.
The building of the tower started on August 8, 1173. The building design was flawed from the beginning. Its 3 meter deep foundation was woefully shallow for what was going to be a 55 m (183 ft.) high tower made out of white marble weighing 14,700 metric tons. In 1178 the construction of the third floor started and it was noticed that the tower had begun to sink. Had construction continued the tower would have collapsed but for the next hundred years The Republic of Pisa was at endless war with either Genoa, Lucca or Florence so construction was stopped.
In 1272 Giovanni di Simone restarted the construction of the Tower. The soil had compacted under the tower and believing the foundations to be safe Giovani added the extra floors. To compensate for the tilt of the tower one side of each floor was built taller than the other which means that the tower is actually curved. It was not until 1372 that the bell chamber was finally added and the last bell was not added until 1655.
Measurements between 1550 and 1817 show that the tilt of the tower had only increased by 5 cm in that period. For some unknown reason the tilt suddenly accelerated and by 1838 the tower had tilted another 20 cm.
As the tower continued to tilt concern rose that it would collapse. It was decided to try and stabilize the tower and engineers puzzled over how to straighten it. Attempts to raise the sinking side of the tower nearly ended in disaster when crucial foundation stones were accidentally removed causing the tower to lean more. The lean of the tower was stabilized by adding over 650 tons of lead as a counterweight to the lean. In 1993 an English engineer solved the problem by coming up with a plan to remove soil from under the opposite side of the tower from the lean to straighten it. The process took until 2008 and the tower was slowly returned to the same amount of tilt it had in 1838 after 70 tons of soil was carefully removed from under the towers foundations. It is estimated that it safe for another 300 years.
Italy is full of Iconic Buildings but the Leaning Tower is probably the most recognizable worldwide. Visiting the tower is still a mesmerizing experience and its rakish tilt looks a lot more than the official 3.97 degrees. Now it has been made safe its Iconic status is assured for generations to come.
Copyright Paul Williams 2014
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