20 facts about Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa
20 facts about Leaning Tower of Pisa

An architectural marvel

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most attractive European monuments. It is known worldwide and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

It was built as part of the complex of the Cathedral Church of Santa Maria Assunta, seen as the "eye in the head of the Pisans," a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.

1.The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a cathedral bell tower that is part of a complex of buildings in the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa.
The building complex consists, besides the bell tower (campanile), of:

  • Duomo - Santa Maria Assunta
  • the Baptistery of San Giovanni
  • the cemetery Camposanto Monumentale.

The tower, the Baptistery and the Cathedral are located in a large square covered with green grass called Piazza dei Miracoli - the Miracle Square.

2.The entire historical complex, consisting of four masterpieces of medieval architecture, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987.
In 1063, Buscheto Pisano began constructing the cathedral - the first of the four buildings that form the city's architectural center. These buildings were built according to the best interpretation of Pisan Romanism. 

The Pisan Romanesque style was created by combining Eastern architectural and decorative elements with Western architectural elements (pointed arcades, decoration with white and black stripes, pilasters and rhombuses ), which brought a taste of the journey to the East on Pisan Romanesque.
3.Construction of the Leaning Tower began in 1173 and was completed two centuries later.
Although the Latin inscription to the right of the entrance to the tower gives the date 1174, this refers to the Pisan calendar, which is one year longer than the Gregorian calendar.
4.The designers of the Leaning Tower are believed to be the architects: Bonanno and Guglielmo Pisano.
It is built of white marble, has eight floors. Its weight is estimated at 14 thousand tons.
5.Soon after construction began, it became apparent that the tower leans to the south.
In the planning, the architects did not take into account that the terrain on which it was built was muddy and very unstable.
6.The first floor was probably completed just a few months after construction began.
In its lowest part, there are wall columns with classical capitals and arches between them, decorated with concave rhombuses.
7.In 1185, when three stories of the tower had already been built, it was observed that it began to tilt.
A similar fate befell many of Pisa's structures at this time.
8.The architects tried to save the situation and changed the plans during construction, extending the columns on one side.
However, this did not make the situation any better. Construction was halted at this stage, but in 1198 some bells were temporarily placed on the tower.
9.In the first half of the 13th century, the severe troubles in which the city was involved prevented the building's completion.
Pisa was then at war with Genoa, Florence and Lucca to defend the Republic's independence.
10.The building works were not resumed until 1275.
They were directed by Giovanni di Simone, the builder of the church of St. Francis and the Camposanto Monumentale (in this cemetery, the young Franz Liszt found inspiration for his immortal concerto "Totentanz").

He took over the construction of the tower from Bonanno Pisano.

Pisano, after his death, was buried at the foot of the Leaning Tower in a sarcophagus discovered in 1820.