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Who Else Wants to Visit The Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Mar 2, 2008
Regarded widely as one of the greatest wonders of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is situated in the city of Pisa, Italy. Italy has an important place in the history of the world, and this monument adds more to the country's rich history. It was originally built as a marble campanile, or bell tower, for Pisa's cathedral, located in the 'Campo dei Miracoli'.

The Tower was given such a name because it does not stand erect like other towers, but 'leans' at an angle of 5.5 degrees from the perpendicular. This is because the uneven settling of its foundation.The height of the it is 55 meters from the ground while its weight is estimated at 14,453 tons, and has 296 steps.

The history of the Leaning Tower is interesting as well. It took centuries to construct. The construction began on August 9, 1173, and went on for two centuries. The third floor was constructed in 1178 when it began to lean, and thereafter the construction stopped. Four more floors were constructed in 1272 to make-up for the inclination. The construction stopped again until 1372 when the last floor of the Tower was built. In the same year, the bell was finally installed.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa holds a significant place in world history as well. Famous physician Galileo Galilei once dropped two cannon balls of different masses from it to demonstrate their speed of descent was independent of their mass. After some years, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini commanded the Tower to be erected. So cement was poured into its foundation but the consequences were disappointing as it sank further into the soft soil. Reflecting more on it's history it is quite interesting that during World War II, the American forces were ordered to demolish all the towers in the city of Pisa because of the threat of snipers in the city. All the towers were demolished except the Leaning Tower of Pisa because of a last-minute order to retreat.

In 1990, the Leaning Tower was closed as there was a threat of collapse. This was because it was subsiding at the rate of 0.03 inches a year. Engineers undertook a strengthening project that decreased the lean by 17 inches to about 13.5 ft. The work was completed in May 2001 and reopened for public in June 16, 2001.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa may be leaning because of a blunder committed by 12th century engineers, but it is still one of the most famous structures known across the world and will always remain so.
About the Author
Dominic Siano is president of Tour Italy Now (http://www.touritalynow.com), the largest online travel tour operator. A lover of all things Italian, Dominic has worked extensively in the Italian tourism industry. To learn more about Dominic visit his blog at http://www.domsiano.com.
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