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Leaning Tower of Pisa

the popular name for what is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) in Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Officially known as the Torre Pendente di Pisa, the Leaning Tower gets its popular name from the fact that it is about sixteen feet (5.5 degrees) from the vertical. Although it looks as if it could fall at any moment, it has stood (albeit rather crookedly) for over 600 years.

Construction began on the tower in 1173. The third floor was completed in 1178, at which time it became obvious that the structure was leaning; construction was halted at this time due to war with Firenze. Construction was again halted by war in 1185. Four more floors were constructed between 1272 and 1284. In an attempt to make up for the inclination, these floors were constructed with one side "shorter" than the other. This is why the tower appears to have a slight "bend" in the middle. The seventh floor was completed in 1319, and the tower was "topped out" in 1350. The bells were removed from the third floor and installed in the belfry in 1372.

Facts and Figures

Original architect Bonanno Pisano
Architect who realized the Tower could not be straightened Tomasso di Andrea da Pontedera (in 1275)

Height at which Lean Becomes Obvious 35 feet (third floor)
Level at which Tower Straightens up to North 5th

Height 185 feet (55.9 meters) tall
Thickness of walls at base 13 feet (4 meters)
Thickness of walls at top 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1 meters)
Outer diameter of base 50 feet (15.5 meters)
Weight 14,700 metric tons

Number of columns around first floor 15
Number of columns around second through seventh floor 30 each
Number of columns around eighth floor 12

Number of steps to top 296

Number of bells 7, tuned to musical scale
Largest bell L'Assunta (The Assumption), 3-1/2 tons

Latitude 43.7167 (4343'0" N)
Longitude 10.3833 (1022'60" E)
Elevation of Plaza about 6 feet

The official website of The Leaning Tower of Pisa is

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The Robinson Library >> Fine Arts >> Architecture >> Towers, Turrets, Minarets, Etc.

This page was last updated on 05/20/2017.