The History of The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Humans make mistakes, after all, no human is perfect. One mistake made in the 11th century resulted in a 14,500 ton leaning tower. This miscalculation would later become a symbol of civic pride, but tell that to the man who designed it!
The learning tower of Pisa, known as Torre Pendente di Pisa in Italian, is different than most medieval architecture. This particular section won't cover the highly advanced construction techniques that were used, it is important to mention how this tower's design is significant.
The Leaning Tower is the third oldest building on Pisa's Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square), the Cathedral and Baptistry were first.
Utilizing many columns and archs, this tower represents an advanced understanding of weight and load characteristics, showing the Italian architectures' knowledge.
What the architect didn't account for however, was the base of the tower being built on a dense section of clay.
The Early Years
The construction of the Tower of Pisa began on August 9, 1173. Originally designed to be a bell tower, the tower actually stood upright for over 5 years, but just after the completion of the third floor (1178) it began to lean. The citizens of Italy were shocked as it began to lean ever so slightly.
The foundation of the tower, only 3 meter deep, was built on a dense clay mixture and impacted the soil. As it turned out, the clay was not nearly as strong enough as required to hold the tower upright, and so the weight of the tower began to diffuse downward until it had found the weakest point.
After this, construction halted for 100 years. The government hoped that the soil would settle, giving it enough strength to hold the weight of the tower. As well, the country was focused on its war with Genoa, which was quite brutal and ravaging at the time.