Tower of Pisa leaning its way into infamy
The most famous building in the world notorious for its flaws rather than its beauty has to be the tower of Pisa- appropriately named the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A building so iconic that it is synonymous with any thought about Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa draws 5 million tourists annually. Originally intended as a bell tower for the Pisa Cathedral complex, the Tower of Pisa has been tilting slightly since the day it was built. Although the architect responsible for it remains a mystery, the two touted candidates are Bonanno Pisano and Diotisalvi.
Construction of the tower began in 1173, a period of constant conflict for the Republic of Pisa and hence, a time of scarce resources. When they got to build the second floor, the foundation started to sink, with the ground being unstable. The city, however, remained undeterred and continued construction while compensating for the tile by building one side slightly taller than the other.
The tower exudes a style heavily influenced by Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture, giving it a unique flair. The long, drawn-out construction is said to have helped the tower’s cause, with the ground being able to settle down and stabilize throughout, without which the Tower of Pisa might well have met a fate not too dissimilar to that of the Tower of Zaragoza which was torn down due to its lean. In 1990, the lean was solved to a degree- ahem, pardon the pun- by removing 42 tons of soil underneath the taller side of the tower. Along with placing counterweights to balance the tower better, further precautions taken have rendered the tower stable for another 300 years.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, currently at 195 feet and 11 inches, or 183 Feet and 3 inches, depending on the side you stand on, has had its fair share of fine moments in history. Galileo Galilei once held a demonstration to prove the law of free fall by dropping two cannonballs of different masses. The tower was also handy as a Nazi observation post in WWII.
While the looming fear of the tilt reduced the tower to a grand spectacle and tourist attraction in recent years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa continues to wrangle to stand straight, a battle it will undeniably lose someday. But until that day, see this iconic tower for yourself and maybe even strike the cliche pose.