Leaning Tower of Pisa gained its worldwide fame thanks to a peculiar phenomenon - slope, which creates the illusion that the entire structure is about to collapse. The angle of the tower is really impressive and probably why the flow of tourists to Pisa does not end there. However, I would like to believe that people are attracted not only by a defect in construction, but also by amazing architecture. Cathedral complex of Santa Maria Assunta, which includes this italian tower.
This entire ensemble is located on Piazza de Miracoli (better known as Miracles Square). Except falling tower (Torre pendente di Pisa), here is the city's cathedral church (Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta), the Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni), the ancient cemetery of Campo Santo, the statue of the Capitoline she-wolf.
The oldest monument of architecture from this list is Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which began to be erected in the middle of the 11th century. For comparison, the construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began only 100 years later, in 1173, and they were able to complete it completely only in 1360.
The Leaning Tower - The History of Tilt
Why did the work take so long, you ask? The answer lies in the very defect associated with the inclined tower. Apparently, a mistake was made at the design stage, laying too small a foundation (about 3 meters). In addition, having already started the case, they found that the place under the bell tower has weak soil. All these factors led to the fact that already at the stage of construction of the 3rd floor (there are 8 in total), the tower leaned.
True, for a long time there were rumors that such a miscalculation in the project was made intentionally, in order to attract attention. However, it sounds unlikely and even fantastic. Moreover, the subsequent stages of construction were difficult and long. For example, in order to compensate for the dangerous tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, floors after the third were already erected with a certain trick. On the side where the structure leaned, ceilings were laid in the corridors a little higher. This approach helped to correct the tilt in relation to the central axis.
Curious fact: The Leaning Tower of Pisa simply could not fail to light up in world cinema. In film Superman 3, released in 1983, the hero of Clark Kent "corrects" the main defect of the tower. The scene, although short, became quite popular.
The tower is not protected from architectural copying either. In 1934, an American businessman from Niles, Illinois, ordered a replica legendary building. The American tower was built with the same slant as the original, but in proportions of approximately 1 to 2.
You will be surprised, but the tower in Pisa is not the only structure tilted. Even in Italy there are several more such examples: the bell tower of the temple of San Giorgio dei Greci in Venice and the police tower in Rome. And if we talk about other countries, the list is impressive and includes more than 250 positions, such uniqueness comes out.
Did you know that Galileo Galilei was a native of the city of Pisa?
Surely you have heard the story of how the famous mathematician, physicist and astronomer of his time conducted an experiment, simultaneously dropping objects of different masses from a height. I think you already guessed from which tower he did this.
By the way, in the Pisa Cathedral there was an object also associated with the discoveries of Galileo - chandelier Lampada di Galileo. Observing the smooth swings of this lamp, the then young Galileo discovered the isochronism of small oscillations of the pendulum. So paradoxically, the Catholic Church itself, without knowing it, helped the scientist, whom he would later accuse of heresy.
Tourists often ignore Pisa Baptistery of Saint John, but in vain, because in terms of architecture this building is truly unique (* it was used for the sacred ritual of baptism). It has an unusual mixture of Gothic style with Romanesque architecture, the object was completed in 1363.
The Baptistery of Pisa is the largest of its kind in the world.
However, the list of unique objects of the Square of Miracles does not end there. Near the tower, do not miss a small sculpture on a column - this Capitoline wolf.
Useful information and tickets
- It is possible to visit the tower, the cathedral and the baptistery only during the working hours of the complex. The schedule changes depending on the season, the shortest opening time is in winter - consider this fact when planning a trip.
- During the season (and it is here almost all year round) there are a lot of tourists, be prepared for queues.
- Pisa is easily accessible by round-trip train from Florence.
- Options for visiting the tower and the cathedral from 19 euros per person, see tickets online.
- For those for whom one tower is not enough, see selection of excursions around the city of Pisa with various interesting additions.
- Pisa is not only a tower, I advise you to take a walk along the old Borgo Stretto quarter and inspect caravan palace.
- Take a hotel a little further from the Cathedral Square - this will help you save some money, and pleasant walks will only enhance the impression of this Italian city.