Why Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa Lean?

Leaning Tower of PisaThe history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is still filled with mystery to this day. For starters, there’s still controversy as to who actually designed the structure.

Why the Structure Leans

The known facts are the following: in 1172, Donna di Bernado gave some money to the Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie. The funds were to be used for the construction of the tower. A year later the groundwork was laid down. The foundation was set on poor soil. The result was that less than a year after construction began, it
started to lean already.

Hardly had work begun when it was stopped. It wasn’t just due to the poor soil. The fact was that Pisa went to war against Florence. This would affect the history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It meant that for a century, work stopped.

The result was that the soil started to stiffen. While it continued to lean, the danger of it falling over passed. Had construction not been stopped, it would have collapsed.

Work in the 12th century

It’s still not clear who began the work, but it was continued in the 12th century by Giovanni di Simone. He started working on it in 1272 up to 1284. War followed and work was interrupted again.

By 1319 work had resumed and seven levels had been finished. Other architects that worked on it were Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, Benenato and Guido Speziale. All of these architects participated at various points during the history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Real Architect

Numerous architects have been suggested as to the original designer of the tower. One of them is Bonnano Pisano. He was well known in Pisa for his works. The discovery of his name on a cast at the tower bolsters this claim.

However it’s possible that he just worked on the restoration. Others claim that it was Diotisalvi due to the style similarity. Some dispute this because Diotisalvi left his signature on his projects.

Facts and Figures

From the high side the structure is 56 meters high (186 ft). At the lower point it is 55 meters or 183 ft. It estimated to weigh 14,500 tons. A study of the history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa will show that it has 294 steps. The degree of inclination is at 3.9 degrees. It has eight stories with an outer diameter of 50 ft. There are seven bells in total.

The structure has undergone reconstruction several times. Part of the work done in the 1990s and 2000 was to refurbish and rebuild decaying parts. Another reason is to ensure that it doesn’t lean too much. The last work done indicates the structure can last another three centuries. During the reconstruction public visits to the site are not allowed.

The history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a remarkable story of how a potential disaster can be turned into a work of art. Whoever conceived of it, the outcome may have never been what he or she expected.

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