Posted by: Frame To Frame - Bob and Jean | March 6, 2017

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and we give a hand!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and we give a hand!


Despite our intentions of arriving at the Leaning Tower of Pisa early in the day, we found ourselves landing at the popular tourist destination alongside hundreds of fellow sightseers.  This world-famous freestanding bell tower is considered one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe and possibly the tallest bell tower in Europe.

roadway through country in tuscany, italy

Our day began quite early at 6 a.m.  As we were becoming quite familiar with the roads leading north from our little corner of Tuscany, we so saw no reason why we couldn’t be at the Leaning Tower of Pisa by 9 a.m.  It was 2 hours distant.  Unfortunately, a major problem on the expressway had traffic there stopped and held captive for hours, but our GPS unit foresaw the problem and directed us alternately through the countryside on some pretty obscure routes.  We achieved our destination after a long 4 hours.


The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or Tower of Pisa for short, is one of four buildings that make up the cathedral complex known as Square of Miracles.  Upon entering the Piazza dei Miracoli, we were confronted by the massive white marble Cathedral of Pisa that dwarfs its own bell tower.


The beautiful romanesque style of architecture used when building not only the Tower but also the Cathedral and the Baptistery resulted in this assemblage of buildings being the most splendid example of its kind in Italy.  in the case of the Tower, the combination of rounded arches, sturdy pillars, and white marble have it looking like an elegant giant-sized wedding cake.


The Tower of Pisa was designed to be a perfectly vertical tower, but early during construction, in 1178, when only 3 of the eventual 8 stories were built, the Tower began to lean to one side.  A shallow foundation built into soft alluvial silt and marine clay, deposits from the nearby Tuscan Rivers Arno and Serchio, were not sufficient nor stable enough to bear the weight, and the soil shifted.


As a lighthearted jest, I pretend to prop up the short side of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  To look at the Tower, you wouldn’t notice that the stories are taller on the short side than on the uphill side.  In one vain attempt to rectify the tilting tower, architects and engineers constructed taller stories on the short side of the Tower as they attempted to compensate for the lean.  The extra weight on the short side caused the foundation to sink more and the Tower gained a further lean to the north.

Visit The miracle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and we give a hand!   for the full post.

Frame To Frame

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