There are 257 steps to get from the bottom of the Tower to the bells chamber and 12 more steps to enter the Tower itself.
How do we know? ...we went there and counted ourselves!
Believe it or not, no one is reporting this fact right… neither Wikipedia nor Google and not even the signs in “Piazza dei Miracoli” in Pisa, where the Tower stands... or for better use of words, leans.
So we went there and we counted the steps one by one ON VIDEO!
We had the feeling something was wrong with the steps count when we noticed that practically every web page on the topic reports a different number.
Figures range from 250 to 300 and it is very hard to understand who shall be trusted.
There are 5 flights of stairs in the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of which is spiraling around the entire building!
As far as we can tell, THIS is the only article on the entire Internet reporting the correct number of steps inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
How can we be so sure?
...tired of mismatching numbers, we went to Pisa and climbed the Tower to count the steps with our own eyes!
The figure we got is totally different from anything published online to this date.
Yes, we feel your pain... the fact that one cannot really trust information found on the Internet is mind-boggling.
The video of our descent is at the bottom of this article... there you can see how the inside of the Tower looks like and you can even count the steps for yourself!
The Stairs in the Leaning Tower
First off, there are FIVE different stairs to get to the top of the Tower.
Some are just a few steps to access the various parts of the Tower (1st, 2nd, 5th) and two of them are full-size spiral staircases (3rd and 4th) to move between the floors.
The first stairs bring from the street level to the base of the Tower, about 150cm lower (5 feet).
Once there, you have to climb a few steps to enter the Tower through it’s - one and only - entrance door.
Let’s call this stairs nr #2.
As you enter the monument, it strikes you… this thing is leaning big time!
Like the rest of the Tower, the floor of the entrance room is inclined and you can feel it under your feet. The feeling you get is much stronger than what your eyes perceive from the outside.
The inside of the Tower is hollow. There is only one room with virtually no ceiling. As a matter of fact, the ceiling is about 49m high, on the top of the 7th floor (image on the left).
It feels big… and it feels so leaning…
On the left of the entrance door, there is the main staircase that leads to the top. It is a spiral staircase that wraps clockwise around the Tower.
This is the 3rd staircase you find in the monument (image below).
The staircase is pretty narrow and people going up must stop giving the way to those coming down.
The stairs climb at regular steps and they are interrupted at each floor by small intermediate landings. At each landing, there is an opening on the outside.
Openings are door-sized and they are closed with metal grates to prevent visitors accessing the columns area and walking along the tiny edge… that’d be VERY dangerous.
The main staircase ends right at the bottom of the 7th floor.
Once you are up, you can walk around the entire circumference of the Tower and admire the wonderful view.
You are now walking outside, in the space between the wall of the Tower and the columns of the 7th floor. This space is about 1 meter wide (3 feet) and, like the openings of the floors below, it is protected by metal grates installed right before the columns.
Getting to the Top
To get to the top of the 7th floor you have to climb on more flight of stairs (the 4th in the Tower). This last spiral staircase is really tiny and two persons can hardly exchange the way.
These stairs land at the base of the bells chamber (8th floor).
To enter the bells chamber you have a fifth set of steps to climb (just a few steps).
You are now standing inside the bells chamber, on the bottom of the 8th floor.
This is the highest point allowed to visitors.
There is another flight of tiny stairs that climb up to the very top of the Tower but it is closed to the public since it leads on the tiny edge of the top of the bells chamber (8th floor).
You might be surprised to find out that the floor of the 8th story is perfectly flat… well, no wonders, it took 200 years to figure out how to make that happen and they eventually got it right.
When you are on the top of the 7th floor you are standing on the tallest building in Pisa. The view is unobstructed in every direction, except for the West, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of majestic Cathedral which very top is the same height as the Tower.
The number of Steps
It is time to do the math on the actual steps inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The first flight of stairs has 8 steps (from street level to the base of the Tower)
The second flight has 4 steps (from the base to the inside)
On the main staircase there are:
- 58 steps to reach the 2nd floor
- 31 steps to reach the 3rd floor
- 30 steps to reach the 4th floor
- 30 steps to reach the 5th floor
- 32 steps to reach the 6th floor
- 36 steps to reach the 7th floor
The fourth flight of stairs to go from the 7th to the 8th floor also counts 36 steps.
Finally, there are 4 steps on the short ramp to access the bell chamber (on the 8th floor).
Summing up, there are 257 steps to get from the bottom of the Tower to the bells chamber and 12 more steps to enter into the Tower itself.
The grand total is 269 steps.
Now, this number is 24 steps shorter of what published in the signs in the Square of Miracles, right below the Tower (293), 25-27 steps less than what stated by Wikipedia and 15 steps less than what answered by Google in its Answer box at the moment of writing.
Hopefully, Google and Wikipedia will soon acknowledge this mistake and refer to this post as the correct source of information when it comes to the question “how many steps are in the Leaning Tower of Pisa?”.
There are 257 steps to get from the bottom of the Tower to the bell chamber and 12 more steps to enter into the Tower itself.
How long does it take to climb the Tower?
At this point, you might wonder how long it takes to climb the 257 steps inside the Tower and get a chance to see its seven bells...
It took us about 20 minutes to climb up to the top of the monument, including the time for taking a few photos and dealing with the "traffic" inside the Tower.
Getting down is about four times faster.
The video below was shot on our way down and you can clearly see ALL the steps of the 4th and 3rd staircase... so you can crosscheck our numbers :)
Is it worth climbing the Leaning Tower?
Entering the Tower is the best way to experience its famous lean.
Climbing the main stairs enhances the feeling of "wrong gravity" even more as you wobble from left to right when spiraling around the Tower from the ground to the top of the 6th floor.
It is definitely worth the time and the 18 EUR of the entrance ticket (see image below).
Are there any regulations for visiting the Tower?
You can visit the tower without a Guide. Entrance is scheduled in batches, every 15 minutes.
Tickets must be purchased at the Ticket Office closeby the Tower. In alternative, you can get your ticket online.
If you get the ticket on-site, you can expect a waiting time of 1-2 hours... therefore it is recommended to buy the ticket online.
Make sure you show up at the entrance by the time shown on your ticket cause the tickets are valid only for the time printed on them and they are NOT refundable!
NOTE: backpacks and purses are NOT allowed in the Tower and you must leave them in the lockers at the Ticket Office. You can drop them 15 minutes before your scheduled visit and you'll be given a key-card for retrieving them after the tour.
Do you want to know more?
WHY is the Tower of Pisa Leaning?
learn why this happened and how they coped with it.
WHAT was the Leaning Tower of Pisa built for?
find out why Tower was built, along with the other monuments in the Square of miracles.
History of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
everything about the recent stabilization works and the people who performed them.
All the Facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
answers to the most asked questions about the Tower.