Everyone knows about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the freestanding bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral, the place where you just have to make a “Pisa pusher” photo. But here are some interesting facts about the tower Italians call “Torre Pendente di Pisa” you probably didn’t know:
1. It took 199 years to build the Leaning Tower of Pisa, beginning in August 1173. The construction was stopped twice, the first time for 100 years, the second time in 1284. Both times it was due to wars.
2. The foundation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, only 3 meter deep, was built on a dense clay mixture. As it turned out, the clay was not strong enough to hold the tower upright. It began to lean in 1178, once construction on the second floor had begun.
3. There are several other towers in Pisa that also lean. In 1989, a similarly constructed bell tower in Pavia, northern Italy, collapsed suddenly.
4. Weight of tower is approximately 14,500 tonnes
5. The tower has eight stories, including the chamber for the bells.
6. Inside the tower there are seven bells. Each bell represents one note of the musical major scale.
7. The top of the leaning tower of Pisa is more than 3.9 meters (about 13 feet) off the vertical.
8. The tower is slightly curved from the attempts by various architects to keep it from leaning more or falling over.
9. Even a minor earthquake in the region could have devastating consequences.
10. In 2008 engineers stated that the Tower had stopped moving. This is the first time in its history that it has not been slowly leaning further to one side.
11. Engineers expect that the famous structure will remain stable for at least another 200 years. By then, in case another intervention is required, the technology available to make improvements could be far more advanced and preserve the tower for another 800 years.