Leaning Tower of Pisa

Many historical sites and monuments in Italy warrant the bevy of visitors they attract from around the world. However, the Leaning Tower of Pisa offers more than just another historical point of interest. The structure draws a medley of guests to marvel at its architectural elegance and eccentricity.

The signature feature of the tower, the campanile of the cathedral, is its peculiar, unintentional tilt. Located behind the Pisa’s cathedral, the structure is the third oldest in the city. Interestingly the tilt of the tower became apparent during construction in 1178 resulting from a poor foundation on ground too weak on one side to buttress the weight of the structure.Leaning Tower of Pisa

The long history of construction for the tower mirrored the vibrant history of the city. Building took place over 344 years in three separate stages. Once the tilt became apparent coupled with the city’s ongoing conflicts with Florence and Genoa, among other city-states, construction was halted for nearly 100 years.

Mystery and intrigue surrounds the identity of the true architect of the structure. Traditionally credit for the design was attributed to Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano. But, recent historical investigation has challenged this thinking. Some now believe the architect Diotisalvi was the original master architect because of the extent of time of construction as well as the endearing feelings toward the architect’s works, namely the the baptistery and bell tower of San Nicola in Pisa. Doubts, though, remain on whether Diotisalvi is the true architect because he traditionally signed his works, and no signature of his has been found, which has cultivated further speculation.

In addition to identifying the architect behind the tower, the structure has inspired historically significant moments. Galileo Galilei allegedly dropped two cannon balls with distinct masses from the structure to illustrate that their speed was not dependent on their mass. Like other tower legends, this has been disputed by historical research. The only source that has substantiated Galileo’s experiment has been his secretary. In World War II, the Allied forces found out that the German military was occupying the tower for its observational prowess. An American soldier sent to confirm the use of the tower by the German forces was so impacted by the magnificence and elegance of campanile and cathedral that he refused to order a military attack to spare the architectural wonder.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not just another historical landmark or site. This structure offers a key into a world of historical intrigue and architectural beauty that continuously evolves to challenge the generations.



  1. Hannah Vergara says:

    Pete, did you snap a shot of you holding up the leaning Tower of Pisa? It was a fun camera position I did when visiting Italy where the person in the photo stands in a pose to make it look like they are holding up the tower, while the photographer catches them at the right angle. I am sure you saw tourist taking advantage, no?

    • Hello Hannah

      I did do a picture of me trying to straighten up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I was getting a little frustrated because every time I would look at the photo on my Iphone to see if I was touching the Tower the tower looked straight, it seemed that the Iphone was auto correcting the Leaning part of the tower, yet when we finally got home and I looked at the pictures on the computer the lean was in the Leaning Tower of Pisa, go figure.


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