Sunday, March 11, 2007

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Although the city of Pisa only offers tourists one main attraction, a visit to the Campo dei Miracoli is well worth your time. Within this piazza, one finds the famous leaning bell tower of the nearby Cathedral. A rich history of facts and myths surround this architectural wonder. After the completion of the construction of the tower in 1173, the building began to slant towards the southeast due to an inadequate foundation and unstable substrate, which allowed the foundation to move freely. Then, during the middle of the 20th century, Mussolini requested a new concrete foundation be poured at the base of the increasingly slanting structure. As a result of this new installation, the building actually began to sink further into the ground, causing the tower to become less stable than its existence in previous years. In recent years, the leaning tower was covered from the view of onlookers while engineers slowed the movement of the tower without forfeiting the popular angled position. Once researchers discovered that the movement of the tower is caused by the expansion and contraction of the stonework under the heat of the sun, technicians stabilized the structure for tourists to enjoy the spectacular bell tower for future centuries. Nowadays, if you are willing to pay the 15 Euro fee, you can climb the slanted cylinder for a unique perspective of the city below.
-Patrick Lee

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