9 Aug: The Not-Yet Leaning Tower of Pisa

Construction began on a white marble bell tower for Pisa’s new Cathedral complex on 9th August, 1173. Little did the engineers working on the project know that their building would become famous all over the world, because of its principal flaw: it wasn’t straight.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is now one of Europe’s biggest tourist attractions, and perhaps the most monitored building in the world. Millions have been spent PRESERVING its famous lean, but for well over a century it was something that Pisans worked hard (and fruitlessly) to straighten.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the warning signs were always there, in the city’s history and other architecture; reveal how Mussolini very nearly ruined one of the world’s most perfectly imperfect landmarks; and ask if it’s really so surprising that the original architect’s name has been lost to history… 

Further Reading: 

• ‘Why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean?’ (HISTORY, 2015): https://www.history.com/news/why-does-the-leaning-tower-of-pisa-lean

• ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’s architect is revealed as Bonanno Pisano’ (Mail Online, 2019): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7809335/Leaning-Tower-Pisas-architect-revealed-Bonanno-Pisano.html

• ‘LEANING TOWER OF PISA-Climbing to the Top and Why the Tower Leans’ (Andy’s Awesome Adventures, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNbpbn9E2dc