The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower (campanile) shared by the cathedral and Campo dei Miracoli. The tower is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, even when it would stand straight up. The atypical design of the tower is similar to the design of the Tower of Babel, according to the Greek writer Herodotus. The bell tower has 7 bells which are tuned to a musical scale and counts 294 steps.

Construction Took 199 Years
The construction started in 1173. The tilt was already visible when the third layer was built in 1178. The construction stopped for near a century, because of Pisa's wars with the neighboring city Florence. Under the command of Giovanni di Simone the work started again in 1272 and four floors were built in an altered angle to the previous levels. In 1284 construction stopped again, because Pisa was acquitted by Genoa in another war. In 1372 the making of the bell tower finally begun, exactly 199 years after the first construction started.

Fixing The Tilt
Nowadays the cause of the tilt is obvious, but back then they did not know that it was because of insufficient foundations sinking into the weak subsoil. Many different efforts were taken to solve the problem, such as digging out the pathway around the foot of the tower. Under the command of Mussolini they even filled the foundations up with concrete, which made the looming even worse.

Accessible For Public
In 1999 the tower was finally returned to a tilt of 13 degrees. They reinforced the foundations and removed parts of subsoil under the high side. The question nowdays is if the leaning Tower of Pisa is still a monument according to the original designer and a testimony to Pisa's twelfth century status and wealth. You can again access the tower, but you have to pay an entrance fee and tickets are strictly limited and queues very long. If you have little time, take a look at the tower and visit the cathedral, baptistery and museum, the National Museum of San Matteo and the Church of Sante Catharina.