Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Building Name  – Tower of Pisa

Location              – City of Pisa, Italy

Architect             – Bonanno Pisano, Gherardo di Gherardo,

Giovanni Pisano, Giovanni di Simone

Year of Start      – 1173

Year of End       – 1399

Description      –

  • The Pisa tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy, called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli, which means Field of Miracles.
  • The four buildings are Cathedral of Pisa (Il Duomo di Pisa), the Baptistry, the Bell Tower of Pisa, Monumental Cemetery.
  • The first building constructed at Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa, was the cathedral, or Duomo di Pisa, which rests on a white marble pavement and is an impressive example of Romanesque architecture.

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  • The next building added was the baptistery just west of the dome.Then work on the campanile began. Before the work on the campanile was completed the cemetery, Campo Santo, was built.

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Cemetery

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  • The leaning Tower of Pisa is a medieval architecture, in Romanesque style.
  • The construction of Tower of Pisa began in August 1173 and continued for about 200 years due to the onset of a series of wars. Till today, the name of the architect is a mystery.
  • The Tower of Pisa was designed as a circular bell tower that would stand 185 feet high. It is constructed of white marble.
  • The tower has eight stories, including the chamber for the bells.
  • The bottom story consists of 15 marble arches. Each of the next six stories contains 30 arches that surround the tower.

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  • The final story is the bell chamber itself, which has 16 arches. There is a 297 step spiral staircase inside the tower leading to the top.

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  • The top of the leaning tower of Pisa is about 17 feet off the vertical.
  • The tower is also slightly curved from the attempts by various architects to keep it from leaning more or falling over.
  • Many ideas have been suggested to straighten the Tower of Pisa, including taking it apart stone by stone and rebuilding it at a different location.
  • In the 1920s the foundations of the tower were injected with cement grouting that has stabilized the tower to some extent.
  • Until recent years tourists were not allowed to climb the staircase inside the tower, due to consolidation work.
  • But now the leaning Tower of Pisa is open again and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy.
  • The original completed height of the Tower of Pisa is 60 meters. Actually the tower’s height is 56.67m on the highest side and 55,86m on the lowest side.
  • The outside diameter of the leaning Tower of Pisa’s base is 15.484 meters.
  • Width of walls at base is 2.4384 meters
  • Weight of tower is approximately 14,500 tonnes
  • There are 251 steps from the bottom to the top of the Pisa tower.

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  • While the Tower of Pisa is most known for ”leaning”, it would still be a remarkable architectural structure without this famous feature. Constructed at a time when there was very little building of this kind being carried out in Europe, the intelligent use of columns and arches demonstrates an in-depth understanding of weight and load characteristics that was way ahead of its time.
  • What the architect overlooked however, was the clay-based soil and the need for a foundation capable of supporting a bell tower that would eventually weigh 16.000 tons (14.500 metric tons).The foundation of the tower is only 3 meter deep.
  • Five years after the initial construction of two floors it began to lean once the third floor was completed. At the time the cause of the lean was not known, though it was discovered many years later that the lean was the result of the tower being built on a dense clay mixture that was unable to fully support the weight of the tower.
  • The eight-story tower was built with limestone and lime mortar, with an exterior covering of marble. Interestingly, the limestone is probably why the tower has not cracked and collapsed – the rock is flexible enough to withstand the pressures placed on it by the tilt.
  • The identity of the Tower of Pisa’s first architect remains a mystery. For many years, the initial phase of the design work was attributed to Bonanno Pisano, a well-known 12th-century resident artist of Pisa. However, recent studies appear to indicate that an architect named Diotisalvi, who designed the baptistery, was also responsible for the tower. The second phase of construction is attributed to Giovani di Simone, who added four floors to the tower in 1275. Architect Tommaso di Andrea Pisano (1350-1372) was the architect who finished the work and succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber with the Romanesque style of the tower.

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