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Leaning Tower of Pisa


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Leaning Tower of Pisa

The leaning Tower of Pisa is famous because it leans. Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, it started to lean during construction. However, even without this famous characteristic, this building would still be one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe. It stands at 60 metres and until 1990 was leaning at about a 10 degree angle.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry.
The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the low side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical.
A popular tourist activity is to pose for photographs pretending to "hold up" the leaning tower and preventing it from falling. The illusion is created through the principle of forced perspective.


Construction

Construction of the tower occurred in three stages across 177 years. Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on August 8, 1173, during a period of military success and prosperity. This ground floor is a blind arcade articulated by engaged columns with classical Corinthian capitals.
The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. This was due to a mere three-metre foundation, set in weak, unstable subsoil, a design that was flawed from the beginning. Construction was subsequently halted for almost a century, because the Republic of Pisa was almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca and Florence. This allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. Otherwise, the tower would almost certainly have toppled. In 1198 clocks were temporarily installed on the third floor of the unfinished construction.
In 1272 construction resumed under Giovanni di Simone, architect of the Camposanto. In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built upper floors with one side taller than the other. Because of this, the tower is actually curved. Construction was halted again in 1284, when the Pisans were defeated by the Genoans in the Battle of Meloria.
The seventh floor was completed in 1319. It was built by Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, who succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber with the Romanesque style of the tower. There are seven bells, one for each note of the musical major scale. The largest one was installed in 1655. The bell-chamber was finally added in 1372.
After a phase (1990–2001) of structural strengthening, the tower is currently undergoing gradual surface restoration, in order to repair visual damage, mostly corrosion and blackening. These are particularly pronounced due to the tower's age and its exposure to wind and rain.



Timeline

  • On January 5, 1172, Donna Berta di Bernardo, a widow and resident of the house of dell'Opera di Santa Maria, bequeathed sixty soldi to the Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie. The sum was then used toward the purchase of a few stones which still form the base of the bell tower.
  • On August 9, 1173, the foundations of the Tower were laid.
  • Nearly four centuries later Giorgio Vasari wrote : "Guglielmo, according to what is being said, in [this] year 1174 with Bonanno as sculptor, laid the foundations of the belltower of the cathedral in Pisa."
  • Another possible builder is Gerardo di Gerardo. His name appears as a witness to the above legacy of Berta di Bernardo as "Master Gerardo", and as a worker whose name was Gerardo.
  • A more probable builder is Diotisalvi, because of the construction period and the structure's affinities with other buildings in Pisa. But he usually signed his works, and there is no signature by him in the belltower.
  • Giovanni di Simone was heavily involved in the completion of the tower, under the direction of Giovanni Pisano, who at the time was master builder of the Opera di Santa Maria Maggiore. He could be the same Giovanni Pisano who completed the belfry tower.
  • Giorgio Vasari indicates that Tommaso di Andrea Pisano was the designer of the belfry between 1360 and 1370.
  • On December 27, 1233, the worker Benenato, son of Gerardo Bottici, oversaw the continuation of the construction of the belltower.
  • On February 23, 1260, Guido Speziale, son of Giovanni, a worker on the cathedral Santa Maria Maggiore, was elected to oversee the building of the Tower.
  • On April 12, 1264, the master builder Giovanni di Simone and 23 workers went to the mountains close to Pisa to cut marble. The cut stones were given to Rainaldo Speziale, worker of St. Francesco.

leaning tower of pisa

WHEN was the leaning Tower of Pisa built?

The construction of the leaning tower of Pisa began in august 1173, but was interrupted several times by wars, debt and while engineers worked on solutions to correct the lean. We now know that without these interruptions that allowed the soil to compress under the tower, it would have certainly toppled over. Pisa Tower was eventually completed in the mid-1300s.

WHY was the leaning Tower of Pisa built?

The purpose of Tower of Pisa was a touristic one from the beginning.The city of Pisa was at the beginning a simple Italian seaport. Its fame and power grew gradually over the years, as the people of Pisa were involved in various military conflicts and trade agreements. The Pisans attacked the city of Palermo on the island of Sicily in 1063. The attack was successful and the conquerors returned to Pisa with a great deal of treasure.To show the world just how important the city was, the people of Pisa decided to build a great cathedral complex, the Field of Miracles. The plan included a cathedral, a baptistery, a bell tower (Tower of Pisa) and a cemetery.

WHO built the leaning tower of Pisa?

The real identity of Tower of Pisa’s architects is a mystery. The most accredited architects of this first phase of work are Bonanno Pisano and Gherardo din Gherardo. The second phase of construction started in 1275, and the work is attributed to Giovani di Simone. Tommaso Pisano (1350-1372) was the architect who finished the work.

Why does the leaning Tower of Pisa lean?

The leaning of the Tower of Pisa comes into the story in 1173, when construction began. Thanks to the soft ground, it had begun to lean by the time its builders got to the third story, in 1178. Shifting soil had destabilized the tower's foundations. Over the next 800 years, it became clear the 55-metre tower wasn't just learning but was actually falling at a rate of one to two millimetres per year.Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is more than five metres off perpendicular.

Its architect and engineer tried to correct this by making the remaining storeys shorter on the uphill side - but to no avail. It kept leaning more and more.The lean, first noted when three of the tower's eight storeys had been built, resulted from the foundation stones being laid on soft ground consisting of clay, fine sand and shells.

The next storeys were built slightly taller on the short side of the tower in an attempt to compensate for the lean. However, the weight of the extra floors caused the edifice to sink further and lean more.

 

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