TUSCANY – “Dolce Vita” in an Old Land
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
Pisa (English pronunciation: /ˈpiːzə/; Italian pronunciation: [ˈpisa]) is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city of over 87,500 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. The city is also home of to a large University with a history going back to the 12th century.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry. Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The tower currently leans to the southwest. The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees,123 but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees.4 This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical.