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Leaning Tower of Pisa


Leaning Tower of PisaThe city of Pisa has the special object of seeing the famous Leaning Tower (1174-1350). It is circular, having 15 pillars in the wall of the first story and 30 in each of the six succeeding ones. On top of these, is another one (the eighth) much smaller than the rest, and probably built upon it after the tower had reached the amount of inclination which it now has.

The entire structure is 187 feet high, and 173 feet 9 inches in circumference (according to my own measurement). The walls are from 5 to 7 feet thick. There is a peal of bells at the top, the heaviest weighing 6 tons. Nothing is more evident than that this tower assumed its leaning position by accident. It is probable that this structure, which is the finest in Italy except Giotto's Campanile at Florence, was originally designed to be a very high one, (perhaps 300 feet).

It is likely that the foundation did not give way until at the seventh story, and that after it came to a stand-still again, they capped it off abruptly by the odd little story which we now see at the top of it. The inclination amounts to about 13 feet. There is a circular pavement around it about 10 feet wide, which has the same angle of inclination that the tower itself has. It is sunk 3 feet into the ground on one side and 8 feet on the other side.

Let it be remembered, that this tower is not an independent structure, but that it stands near the east end of the Cathedral of Pisa, as the elegant campanile at Florence stands near the cathedral of that city.