Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Visit the Famous City of Pisa in Tuscany Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as the Tower of Pisa, is a freestanding bell tower (campinile), of the cathedral in the city of Pisa Italy.

Pisa is a city in Tuscany which is in central Italy and the birthplace of the important early physicist, Galileo Galilei.

Pisa Italy lies at the junction of two rivers, the Arno and Serchio in the Ligurian Sea and forms a laguna area. It is also the capital city of the Province of Pisa.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral the Duomo
The Tower of Pisa in the Piazza del Duomo

The Tower of Pisa sits behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), the Cathedral being the oldest and the Baptistry the second oldest.

Cathedral at the Tower of Pisa
Inside the Duomo which is next to the Tower of Pisa

The Tower of Pisa was a work of art, built in three stages over a period of about 177 years and was intended to stand vertically, but began leaning to the southeast soon after the construction started in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation set in weak, unstable and loose subsoil that allowed the foundation to shift direction.

The Tower of Pisa is only one of the many works of art and architecture in Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”), also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles).

Located north of the old town center, the Piazza del Duomo itself is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa Italy.

Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Piazza del Duomo
The Duomo (Cathedral) and the Camposanto Monumentale

The Piazza is recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world, dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (the monumental cemetery).

In an effort to correct the tilt of the famous tower, the engineers in 1272 built upper floors with one side taller than the other but this made the Leaning Tower of Pisa begin to lean in the other direction.

Although the seventh floor was completed in 1319, the bell-chamber was not finally added until 1372 and the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber were harmonized with the Romanesque style of the tower.

The Bells in the Tower of Pisa
Ancient Bells in the Tower of Pisa

There are seven bells in the Tower of Pisa; the largest one was installed in 1655.

Between 1990 and 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees and major restoration work was performed to stabilize the tower.

Now it leans at about 3.99 degrees, which means that the top of the tower is tilted by 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from a perfectly vertical stand.

On the lowest side the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) high and on the highest side it is 56.70 m (186.02 ft) high.

Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Famous Leaning Tower of Pisa

The tower has 296 steps or 294 steps on the seventh floor which has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase.

The Tower of Pisa currently leans to the southwest.

In 1987 the whole square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More Things to See in Pisa Italy

The Orto Botanico di Pisa Italy is Europe’s oldest university botanical garden.

The Borgo Stretto, an elegant street in Pisa Italy where you can stroll beneath medieval arcades and the Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno.

It includes great shopping as well as the Gothic-Romanesque church of San Michele in Borgo.

Pisa Italy Beautiful Architecture
Beautiful Architecture in Pisa Italy

Although Pisa Italy is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower of Pisa (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city contains several palaces, more than 20 other historic churches, and various bridges across the Arno River.

Churches in Pisa Italy

    • Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, houses a bust by Donatello, and paintings by Vasari, Jacopo Ligozzi, Alessandro Fei, and Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli.
    • The church of St. Francis, designed by Giovanni di Simone, built after 1276, it has a single nave and a notable belfry, as well as a 15th-century cloister.
    • Church of San Frediano, built by 1061, has a basilica interior with three aisles, with a crucifix from the 12th century.
    • Church of San Nicola, built 1097, the octagonal belfry is from the second half of the 13th century. The paintings include the Madonna with Child by Francesco Traini (14th century).
    • Church of Santa Maria della Spina, built around 1230 is another excellent Gothic building.
    • The church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno was founded around 952 and enlarged in the mid-12th century with lines similar to those of the Cathedral. Annexed to the Romanesque Chapel of St. Agatha, it has an unusual pyramidal cusp or peak.

Church of Santa Maria della Spina in Pisa Italy
Church of Santa Maria della Spina in Pisa Italy

Palaces – Palazzo

  • The Medici Palace, once a possession of the Appiano family which ruled Pisa in 1392–1398 until the Medici acquired it In 1400.
  • Knights’ Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri), is where the Palazzo della Carovana is located with its impressive façade.
  • Palazzo Agostini, a Gothic building also known as Palazzo dell’Ussero, with its 15th century façade and remnants of the ancient city walls dating back to before 1155.
  • Palazzo Gambacorti, once a Gothic building of the 14th century, is now the town hall. The interior displays frescoes depicting Pisa’s sea victories.
  • The Palazzo Reale (“Royal Palace”) is where Galileo Galilei showed the Grand Duke of Tuscany the planets he had discovered with his telescope.

Pisa Italy Ancient Architecture
Ancient Architecture in Pisa Italy

Museums in Pisa Italy

  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo: original sculptures of Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano and the treasures of the cathedral.
  • Museo delle Sinopie: the sinopias from the camposanto, the monumental cemetery. These are red ocher underdrawings for frescoes, made with reddish, greenish or brownish earth colour with water.
  • Museo Nazionale di S. Matteo: sculptures and painting from 12th century–15th century, masterworks of Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, the Master of San Martino, Simone Martini, Nino Pisano and Masaccio.
  • Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale: belongings of the families that lived in the palace, paintings, statues, armors, etc.
  • Museo di storia naturale e del territorio dell’Università di Pisa, which is located in the Certosa di Calci, outside Pisa Italy, containing one of the largest cetacean skeletons collection in Europe.
  • Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti per il Calcolo: a collection of instruments used in science, such as a pneumatic machine of Van Musschenbroek and a compass probably belonged to Galileo Galilei.

Camposanto at the Tower Pisa
Museo delle Sinope – the Camposanto at Piazza del Duomo

Certosa di Calci near Pisa Italy
Certosa di Calci Near Pisa Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cupid
Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cherubs Statue

The Leaning Tower of Pisa continues to undergo restorations but mainly to clean the surface from corrosion and blackening due to the tower’s age and exposure to the environment, wind and rain.

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