Leaning Tower of Pisa - History and Facts | History Hit

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an iconic bell tower, renowned for its slanted stance.

Peta Stamper

21 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as the Tower of Pisa or ‘Torre pendente di Pisa’ in Italian, is one of the world’s most famous buildings due to its leaning stance, which leaves it forever appearing to be toppling over.

Leaning Tower of Pisa history

Originally construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was begun in 1174, with the intention of it being a freestanding bell tower for Pisa’s cathedral. Located in the Field of Miracles or ‘Campo del Miracoli’, the tower began to lean very early on in its construction, apparently around the time of the construction of its third floor.

The reason for the lean is that the ground on which it was built is sandy and unstable and the foundations used for the tower were insufficient to cope with this.

In 1185, a long period commenced in which construction of the Tower of Pisa ceased, the halt in progress usually being attributed to the fact that the Pisans were preoccupied with a succession of wars such as with Florence. Giovanni di Simone continued work on the tower in 1260 and, while there was a further pause in construction along the way, the Tower of Pisa was finally completed in 1360.

Since that time, the tower’s lean has continued to increase, leading to fears that it would indeed fulfil its promise to topple. Until 1990 the tower was leaning at a 10 degree angle. However, following an extensive and highly complex project, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is now stable.

Leaning Tower of Pisa today

Today, visitors can admire the ornate white marble structure that stands 60 metres tall and climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa up a staggering 300 steps. Be aware, if you want to get up close to the tower you will need to book tickets in advance as this is undoubtedly the city’s most popular tourist destination.

Of course, any visit to Pisa would not be complete without a photograph of yourself appearing to prop up the leaning tower.

Getting to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Within Pisa’s historic centre, the tower is hard to miss on foot and is easily reached via public transport. Buses E3 and Linea 21 stop at Contessa Matilde just across the road while E25 stops on the other side of the Piazza del Duomo. For those driving, there is plenty of parking nearby.

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