Here we were, with all of the other tourists … looking at one of the Seven Wonders of the World Today … The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is located in a city called Pisa in northern Italy. The day was sunny with blue, blue skies overhead. We came by car ourselves, but big tour buses were parked all over the parking lot. There were crowds of people everywhere. It was hard to take any pictures without having people we did not even know in our pictures. One of the favorite shots seemed to be people positioning themselves with their arm out as if they were holding the Tower up by their arm, thus saving the Tower from falling over. It did seem to lean a lot to the side.
It really does look like it is going to fall over because it is leaning too much to the side. Engineers have built stilts or poles to keep it from falling. The Tower of Pisa is a freestanding bell tower of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is located right behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square.
The Tower is 186.02 feet high on the high side and 183.27 feet high on the low side. That creates a significant lean. It really does lean a lot. The lean has been caused by unstable ground. The width of the walls at the base is 13.42 feet and at the top is 8.14 feet. Its estimated weight is 16,000 tons. The Tower has 296 steps, but the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north facing staircase making that side 294 steps. Before restoration work in 1990 and 2001 the tower leaned 5.5 degrees. But today after the restoration was completed it now leans at 3.99 degrees. This means that today at the 3.99 degree lean the Tower from a horizontal position leans out 12 feet 10 inches from where it would be if the Tower were perfectly vertical.
There were three steps to the construction of the Tower. It took 177 years to finish. The marble campanile began on August 8, 1173 during a prosperous period for the military. The Tower began to sink as construction progressed to the third floor in 1178. This was due to unstable subsoil and a flawed design from the beginning construction and so construction was stopped for almost 100 years. This stoppage was caused by all of the military battles Pisa was involved in with Genoa, Lucca and Florence. This allowed the subsoil to settle. The seventh floor was finally completed in 1319.
There are seven bells in the Tower, one for each note of the musical major scale. The largest one was installed in 1655. The bell chamber was finally added in 1372.
To see this wonderful edifice was worth the effort and the trip. It truly is a Wonder of the World.
Tell us about any Wonders you have seen in this world.