Religious Architecture and the Leaning Tower|
from the Chirstian Science Monitor, 16 December 1999
The Falling Tower of Pisa
The "Sinking" Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower
Is Falling Down
A History of All Nations
Weekly World News
Tips Tower Over
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Very Much Detailed
Artistic Static Description
Odd-Fellows' Family Companion
Account of the Collapse of the Tower of Pisa
Some facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa
From "http://www.xs4all.nl/~pisa0/pisa.htm" by Sr. Bas Pisa
The Tower of Pisa was built to show the rest of the world the wealth of the city of Pisa. The people of Pisa were very good sailors and they conquered many lands, including Jerusalem, Carthago, Ibiza, Mallorca, Africa, Belgium, Britania, Norway, Spain, Morocco, and other places. But they had only one real enemy, the people from Florence. And to show how well they were doing they started to build a really useless belltower to go with the rest of the buildings near it - the Cathedral, Baptistery, and Cemetery.
Yes people the Tower of Pisa is nothing more than a bell tower, but because my last name is Pisa I find it a very interesting tower.
They started to build the tower in the year 1173 that means the foot of the tower. After a while the war with Florence started again and they stopped. In 1180 the restarted and in 1185 they had finished the 1st., 2nd., and the 3rd. floor. And again war with Florence, which of course meant that they put all their money in warfare. In this year the tower started to lean to one side, so while they were building, it was already the leaning tower of Pisa. They must have been thinking that a bell tower without bell wasn't a bell tower so the put some bells on the top of the 3rd. floor in 1198.
After a another war with guess who...... Florence, they started again for a period of nine years, from 1275 till 1284. But they didn't have any reason to show off anymore since they had lost a big sea battle in 1284 against the fleet of Genoa. This was because they were betrayed by their own count. Count Ugolino della Gherardesca was locked up with his whole family in the tower of Gualandi.
The people of Pisa threw the key in the Arno River and the count and his family died of starvation. In 1319 they finished all the floors. And finally they put the bell tower on top of it in 1350. In 1392 Pisa was sold to Florence, a big humiliation for the people of Pisa.
The started a rebellion but in 1406 they had to surrender because they were under siege and everybody was dying of starvation. In 1499 they started another war against Florence who were using the people of Pisa as slaves. And again the brave but unfortuned army of Pisa lost and that is the and of the history of Pisa.
They never managed to gain the wealth as in the early years, and now it is a small city somewhere in Italy and they are still showing off with their tower...........
Piazza dei Miracoli from Northwest
from Europe Illustrated, about 1875
History and Tourist Information
From "http://www.cli.di.unipi.it/~gambino/tesi/settorearchitettonico/torre.html" by Francesco Gambino & Fiorella Morabito, University of Pisa
The laying of the first stone of the Tower took place August 9, 1173. This assertion is precisely affirmed in the inscription situated on the right of the door that enters into the monument. So had begun construction of one of the most unusual monuments of all times, whose history continues to the present as a circumstance often fictionalized.
The building of the Tower, and especially its completion, represents the last element in the compliment of the celebrative complex of monuments that enrich the Piazza dei Miracolo. At the same time, the four representative monuments (Cathedral, Baptistry, Bell Tower, Monumental Cemetery), by the intentions of those who were entrusted with the realization of the plan, demonstrate the considerable level of brilliance and power reached by this Marine Republic and they testify to posterity. Through the works of the great religious architecture of its towns, the indisputable Pisan prominence reached from the galleys on the Tirreno Sea to the coasts of the Near East.
The absence of precise written references places doubt on whoever had initially planned the Tower. Tradition attributes the work to Bonanno Pisano, in conjunction with William of Innsbruck. But the recent hypothesis does not seem at all out of place, considering recent reserach, that the credit goes to Diotisalvi instead. Finally, according to Vasari, Nicola Pisano deserves the credit, along with his son Giovanni, who could not have been strangers to the construction of the best of the Pisan towers (whether or not the temporal references would specifically recognize it). Certainly they were involved in the subsequent phases of the work and in the studies of its unusual static behavior. In any case, to put aside the real identity of the designer, considerable skills are apparent in the one first to plan the bell tower, one who showed great technical capability and a good dose of boldness.
And, in fact, it must be recognized that the foundations of the imposing construction have been situated at an inferior depth of three meters, on a bedding of dry stones. As though it was planned, the actual work was halted, beginning in 1184, suspended at completion of the third story, about ten years after the beginning of the construction, due to a yielding of the ground that had caused the first leaning of the constructed tower, with an appraisable sinking between 30 and 40 cm and an initial lean of about 5 cm.
And therefore displaced by an inadequate foundation, a repair plan was needed for the already tilted Pisan bell tower.
In the opinion of Professor Piero Pierotti, an architectural historian, the construction materials of significant weight and the functional characteristics created by the staircase, preventing reduction of the masonry toward the top, left few options to resolve the lean. Therfore, determined to resume the job in 1275, over a century after laying of the first stone, it came to be that Giovanni of Simone undertook the construction of three more floors. In 1284, the six gallery floors were completed, carrying the height of the construction to 48 meters. The accomplished technician mitigated, though still not level to the eye, the effect of the inclination by raising up one side of the galleries on the upper floors, partially correcting the lean of the bell tower.
At that time the lean of the Tower was more than 90 cm., a difference that could be taken as a tormented mutation of the Tower, but it did not distress those people who were most affected by its construction and its completion. Long phases of delay during the construction, dictated, most probably, by any small war or political disruption, made the bell tower "rest", and, most importantly, the Tower was able to settle into the ground and stabilize its most famous lean.
Translation by Gary Feuerstein, 17 March 1998
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Page Initiated 5 April 1998