LAST UPDATED: April 21, 2020 by Ryan M
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was not designed to lean, but it did start leaning during its initial construction due to its foundation being built on soft ground composed mainly of clay, shells, and sand.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a 183 foot (56 meter) bell tower located in Pisa, Italy. As its name suggests, it actually does lean to one side.
In 1172, a local widow named Donna Berta di Bernardo left 60 coins in her will to the Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marielocal for the purchase of stones to be used for the base of a new bell tower.
Construction of the tower occurred in three stages over the next 199 years. Work on the ground floor of the tower began on August 14, 1173, during a period of military success and prosperity.
In 1178, the tower began to sink after construction started on the third floor due to its weak foundation. Construction was subsequently halted for about 100 years due to ongoing wars.
Over the next 100 years, construction started and stopped for various reasons.
Eventually, in 2008, 70 tons (140,000 pounds) of earth was removed from the tower and engineers announced that the tower had been stabilized and stopped moving for this first time since its construction began. The tower now only leans about 4 degrees. Before this, the tower was leaning nearly 6 degrees.
It is now estimated that the Leaning Tower of Pisa will remain stable for at least the next 200 years.
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- There are 296 steps on the south side of the tower and 294 on the north side.
- There are seven bells in the bell-chamber, one for each note of the musical major scale.
- There are several other less known leaning structures in Pisa because of the city’s soft ground.