What started out as a structural blunder turned out to be the pride and joy of Pisa (partly reposted).
It’s always nice to reminisce about bygone experiences, and especially when the Norwegian winter is lurking around every corner and seems everlasting.
Last year the family lived in Pisa, Italy, and we had the magnificent bell tower of marble five minutes away from our home. (There were taken a few pictures like these ones …)
When it started to tilt, shortly after the start of construction in 1173, they could not know if it was in fact a gigantic strike of luck for the city.
Because of poor foundation into unstable soil, the tower soon began to sink and lean over. The building period was therefore halted for long periods (also due to a number of wars), and there were made attempts to compensate for the tilt by building taller columns on the one side. Even though it would be possible to straighten it up completely, this will never happen! However, in the period between 1990 – 2001 the tower was straightened about 45 cm out of necessity, and the angle of slant is now 3,97 degrees.
The Romanesque tower has become one of the most important tourist attractions in Italy, mostly because of the fact that it´s leaning.
The bell tower has eight floors and seven bells, one for each note of the musical scale, which can still be heard from time to time. It was built as a completion of the Piazza del Duomo (the impressive cathedral and baptistery), which in 1987 became part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The Leaning Tower is 56,7 meters tall on the high side, with 296 steps up to the top of the tower.
A strenuous climb that is well worth the effort as it yields a panoramic view of the piazza itself, the beautiful city of Pisa, and the Tuscan scenery.
What started out as a structural blunder turned out to be an important contributor to the city economy because of its attraction on tourists. Until recently it was crowned as the world´s tallest leaning tower made by man, but it was stripped of the title in 2010 by the 160 meter tall Capital Gate building i Abu Dhabi.
Still, the Piazza del Duomo keeps its charm as a wonderful place for a family outing for the people of Pisa, as well as a must-see for tourists. The Piazza is commonly called the Square of Miracles, and the Leaning Tower itself is acknowledged as one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
We look forward to a reunion with the tower when travel through the city on our Interrail vacation this summer.