History of the Leaning Tower

The history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa sees the famous bell tower being built in stages over the course of nearly 200 years. Work started in 1173, and three levels were finished by the year 1185. The construction process was put on hold this same year because of the fact that it was apparent that the tower was leaning. Things didn’t resume until 1275.

History of the Leaning Tower
History of the Leaning Tower

In 1275, the construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa resumed under the guidance of the architect Giovanni di Simone. Efforts were made to correct the tilt, but all they really did was give the structure a curved shape. Work was again halted in 1284, and the tower wasn’t finished until it got its Gothic belfry in 1360. The architect who designed the belfry was Tommaso di Andrea da Pontedera. The architect, or architects in the early years remain unknown.

Over the years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa continued to increase its lean, as the alluvial soil that it sits on simply isn’t good at supporting such a heavy structure. In the 1800's, digging occurred around the base, and it was aimed at finding a solution for the stability issues. This backfired, however, and the tower began tipping more quickly. That being said, it wasn’t exactly toppling in rapid fashion. In fact, around this time, it was only tipping at a rate of around .04 inches a year. More attempts to find a solution for the lean were made in the 1900's, but they weren’t very successful either. As a result, the local mayor had closed the tower to the public in 1990.

After the Leaning Tower closed to the public in 1990, more structural strengthening projects were carried out. These projects were successful to some degree, and the tower re-opened in 2001. In an effort to maintain structural integrity, the number of visitors is controlled. As such, anyone who is hoping to get their hands on some Leaning Tower tickets is encouraged to get them as far in advance as possible, especially during the peak summer tourist season.

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