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Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a curious landmark nestled away in the now dormant town of Pisa.  Though there isn't much to see in the region, the tower itself has become an important landmark of the world and a favorite tourist destination.


At the height of its construction, Pisa was the center of a prosperous sailing city-state that had conquered many lands abroad.  Their only main rival in the area was the city-state of Florence.  So the citizens of Pisa decided to build a grand bell tower to demonstrate their strength and prowess in 1173.

Construction of the entire tower took several hundred years.  A few wars in between stopped work for large stretches at a time.  Within a decade of slow work (comprising of only the first three floors) it became rather obvious that the tower was leaning off the vertical.  Before the Pisans could do anything about it they were in the thick of battle with Florence.  By the time they finished the tower it was leaning quite heavily.

Over the years, many different groups have attempted to fix the leaning tower.  Unfortunately, most of those attempts actually worsened the situation (like Mussolini's addition of concrete to the base).  During World War II, the American Army almost demolished the tower in order to eliminate the threat of snipers.


Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has finally been reopened to the public after extensive reconstruction work of the soils immediately beneath the tower.  The Tower is now considered safe for visitors.

As a bell tower, it is probably one of the most ornate structures built to only hold seven bells.  The entire structure is made of stone that has a very soft color and texture.  It is easily recognized by the extensive pillar-work along most of its height that allow for a completely open-air tower.

The Leaning Tower is not built perfectly straight.  In mid-construction the builders attempted to 'straighten' the tower by continuing construction at a slight angle toward the vertical.  The change is barely noticeable to the eye.

When visiting the Tower, you'll most likely want to make it just a morning or afternoon tour.  There's no need to stay in the area.