The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was actually the result of a human mistake. Just one little miscalculation made in the 11th century left us with an amazing 14,500 ton leaning tower!

Known among Italians as Torre Pendente di Pisa, this piece of architecture is significantly different from most medieval architecture. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is located on the city’s main square, Piazza del Duomo.

With its many columns and arches, this tower boasts an advanced knowledge of weight and load characteristics, showing the Italian architectures’ expertise. Why is the tower leaning then? What the architect didn’t account for was the base of the tower, which was built on a dense section of clay…

The Early Years of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The construction of the Tower began in 1173. Originally designed to be a bell tower, it stood upright for over 5 years, but when the third floor was completed in 1178 it began to lean. Italians were shocked by the event, as the tower began to lean ever so slightly.

The foundation of the tower was built on a dense clay mixture. This mix impacted the soil and furthermore, the clay was not strong enough to hold the tower upright. As a result, the weight of the tower began to diffuse downward until it had found its weakest point.

Due to this problem, construction works stopped for 100 years. The government decided to focus on its war with Genoa and hope that the soil would settle in the meantime.

Tower survives World War II

World War II caused destruction all over the World. The leaning tower of Pisa, however, was very very lucky.

In fact, when American soldiers invaded Pisa, in ordered to destroy all buildings to prevent enemy snipers to find suitable places to hide. The US forces advanced over the Italian countryside. However, a retreat took place shortly after the arrival of the Americans, making it unnecessary to destroy the Tower of Pisa!

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