07 Oct UNESCO: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
I find it mentally stimulating to continually explore all parts of the world so that we can understand other cultures and people. We should also make visits to famous places in addition to getting off the beaten path to visit other places that are less frequented. If you adopt this two-pronged approach, you will have a more well-rounded perspective, both as a tourist and also as a local to truly understand the way other cultures live. One of the most easily recognizable structures in the world happens to be the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I have been fortunate enough to have been to this attraction many times over the years and while it is an impressive site to behold for its visual beauty, it is the design and history of this which is a true marvel. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is situated in Pisa, part of the Tuscany region of Italy in the Piazza del Duomo behind the Pisa Baptistry and the Cathedral, making it the youngest structure there. The three structures together are a UNESCO World Heritage site which makes it one of Tuscany’s seven UNESCO sites. Italy as a whole happens to have more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world with 51.
The amazing part about this structure is its history and how it came to be. The following represents some key details and facts about its history and construction:
- The height of the Tower is about 183 feet on the low side and 186 feet on the high side consisting of eight floors.
- It is constructed of marble and stone in Romanesque style.
- The Tower initially began construction in 1173, after a donation from a widow in 1172.
- After completing two floors, it began to sink on one side due to the clay poor soil and weight of structure.
- The Tower took nearly 200 years to complete due to the sinking soils and various wars within the Pisa empire.
- The wars between Pisa and Genoa, Lucca and Florence paused construction for nearly 100 years. Had this not happened, it is very likely that the structure would have toppled.
- It has been argued about who is the original architect many times through the years. It has been attributed to Diotisalvi and Bonanno Pisano.
- The construction was finally finished in 1372 with the addition of the bell chamber.
- There are seven bells in its bell tower, one for each note of the musical scale.
- There are 294 steps on one side and 296 steps on the other side.
- It has survived four major earthquakes over the years without toppling.
- The tower was closed in 1990 for a period of 11 years to strengthen the structure and prevent it from falling over.
- Recent studies have shown that it can stand for another 200-300 years without any additional corrections.
As you can see, the Leaning Tower is quite an architectural masterpiece and one that is worth visiting within your lifetime. If you are taking a trip to Tuscany or Liguria (bordering region to northern Tuscany where Pisa is located) I would highly recommend coming here to behold the amazing site of this architectural masterpiece. You can keep up with my explorations and speak with me here on Instagram or Twitter.
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