It was the year 1172 when Donna Berta di Bernardo gifted sixty silver coins to purchase some of the stones for the foundation of a tower to be built nearby the newly constructed Cathedral in Pisa. 
Excavation works for the foundation started right away and the first stones were laid on Thursday the 9th August 1173.
...but there is more to it...


The tower was supposed to be a perfectly straight freestanding bell tower, at least in the original plan of Bonanno Pisano (or whoever the original Architect was, since it still is a mystery... ).

Five years into construction things started to go sideways. When builders reached the top of the 3rd floor in 1178, the foundation began to sink on one side causing the massive tower to lean (read more: why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean).

The instability of the soil was not a problem related to the specific location of the Tower. In fact, a few other towers in Pisa are leaning. It seems the whole city of Pisa is built on the same kind of unstable soil. However, in 1173 there was no precedent case and the builders had to stop the works while looking for a solution.

Meanwhile, Pisa got involved into a long was with the nearby city-state of Genova and the works for the Tower were halted for about 100 years.

It took 200 years to complete this incredible piece of art and engineering.

In 1272 works resumed with the objective to compensate the lean and build the Tower up to the 7th tier. And so they did.
Works up to the 7th floor were completed by 1284, under the direction of the engineer Giovanni de Simone.
He and his crew managed to work for 12 years raising the tower of about 24m (doubling its height), without making it topple.

Last construction round was directed by Tommaso Pisano who, starting around the year 1350, built the entire 8th floor.
The construction was finished in 1372 and the 7 bells were installed on top of the Tower (read more about the bells).

It took 200 years to complete this incredible piece of art and engineering.
Started as a failure, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is today one of the most remarkable achievements in engineering.

Since 1178, the inclination of the Tower has been constantly increasing. In the beginning of the century (1990 - 2001) the monument has been closed as its stability became a major concern.
The lean angle reached 5.5° at its highest (1993) and it was "fixed" back to less than 4° (read more: how was the Tower stabilized).

Once again, the people in charge of the stabilization works, proved that human intellect is capable of incredible things.

In 1987, the entire site where Leaning Tower of Pisa is located (Piazza del Duomo) was added to the Unesco World Heritage List.
The people of Pisa are proud of this monument that, over the years, became a universally known landmark.
Since centuries, the Tower has been driving millions of people to visit Pisa and its beautiful surroundings.

Thank God, it is still standing!

..if we had not stepped in, the Tower would have collapsed between 2030 and 2040

 


Do you want to know more?

...keep reading...

 

WHY does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean?

everything about how and when the Tower started to lean.

WHERE is the Leaning Tower of Pisa located?

learn more about the location, Tuscany, the city of Pisa and beautiful its surroundings.

Facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

everything you need to know about the Tower.

History of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

everything about the recent stabilization works and the people who performed them.

 

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