Fun and interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa

leaning tower of Pisa

Fun and interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa for kids and curious adults. Leaning tower of Pis facts for school and travel planning.

The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most famous Italian landmarks and a monument of great historical significance.

These are some of the most fun and interesting facts about it!

Where is the leaning tower of Pisa?

The leaning tower of Pisa is in the town of Pisa, in Italy. Its exact address is Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa PI, Italy.

The tower is part of a complex with several buildings: beside it you have Pisa’s Duomo aka the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Pisa’s Baptistry and Pisa’s Monumental cemetery, the camposanto.

Good to know: Pisa is in the region of Tuscany: if you are planning a trip to the area, you can find how to include it in your Tuscany itinerary here.

What is the official name of the tower in Pisa?

The tower of Pisa is the bell tower of Pisa’s Duomo, the church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Its official name is ‘belltower of Santa Maria Assunta’, campanile di Santa Maria Assunta.

In practice, everyone refers to it as the tower of Pisa, the leaning tower of Pisa or, in Italian, la torre di Pisa.

How tall is the leaning tower in Pisa? And how heavy?

The tower of Pisa is 56m (183 ft) tall or, more precisely:

  • Its original height was 60m (197ft)
  • Its current height is 56.67m (189ft) on the highest side and 55.86m (183ft) on the lowest side
  • The outside diameter of the leaning Tower of Pisa’s base is 15.4m (50.5ft). The walls at its base are 2.4m (7.8ft) thick.
  • The tower weights over 14,000 tons!

How many floors has the tower in Pisa? And how many steps?

The tower of Pisa has 8 floors and 293 steps.

Leaning tower of Pisa, Italy
Leaning tower in a summer evening in Pisa, Italy

Who build the leaning tower in Pisa?

The name of the architect who built the tower of Pisa is still a mystery.

According to Vasari, and an inscription found in the area, the architect was Bonanno Pisano but others say the creator of the tower was Gherardi or Diotisalvi.

At present, most art historians believe Bonanno Pisano was the architect who made the tower.

When was the Pisa tower built?

The tower In Pisa was built in 1173.

The tower was part of a larger design for the square and was builts as bell tower of the nearby duomo.

Overall, we are told that the building of the tower and piazza took over 200 years. The tower od Pisa Is therefore over 800 years old!

Fun fact: it is not unusual for large religious buildings to be build over the course of centuries. The cathedral in Milan took over 5 centuries! You can find more fun facts about the Milan’s Duomo here.

At what angle does the tower in Pisa lean?

The tower of Pisa leans at a 3.9 degrees angle. This is a significant tilt and it is very visible: when you get to Pisa, you can most definitely see that the tower is not straight.

This is why many tourists like to pose as if they were holding it up!

In 1993 the tower tilted more, up to 4.5 degrees. This was too much and work was carried out to stabilize it.

Fun fact for maths lovers: If you like maths, you will love to learn that the leaning tower of Pisa can lean safely as long as the vertical that passes by its baricenter falls within its base. Once the vertical falls outside the area, the balance is compromised.

Why is the tower in Pisa tilted?

The tower of Pisa is tilted s to one side because the ground it was built on was too weak to support its weight.

When the building work started, everything seemed to go well for the first two floors but once the third one was added, one side of the foundation collapses.

This was not intentional however, the result is quite beautiful and, in the 1800s, many believe it had been done on purpose!

Fun fact: Pisa got its name in 600 BC from a Greek word meaning ‘marshy land.’ This should have probably warned its builders about the nature of the soil!

The tower has 7 bells

To do its job as belltower, the tower of Pisa was equipped with 7 bells, one for each musical note.

The bell associate with the note RE/D is also called ‘the bell of the traitor’: this used to ring anytime a traitor was sentenced!

Each bell has a name: Assunta, del Crocifisso, San Ranieri (the one of the traitor), Dal Pozzo, Pasquereccia (Rung at easter), Terza, Vespruccio (Rung at the vespri, sundown)

Fun fact: it is not uncommon for bell towers to have many bells. St Mark in Venice for instance has 5, each with a different purpose. You can find fun facts about Venice here.

What is the leaning tower of Pisa made of?

The tower in Pisa is made of white marble from Carrara and San Giuliano.

In particular occasions, the tower gets light up with colored lights, to mark special events. Some worth noticing are the 16th of June, the celebration of San Ranieri, that sees the tower lit up with small lights, St Patrick’s Day, when it gets illuminated in Green, and blue for the anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations.

What is the architectural style of the tower of Pisa?

The tower of Pisa has an architectural style that mixes Romanesque architecture and oriental influence.

The Romanesque architecture was the most common in the area at the time of its contrsutcion but Pisa was a great naval power with a fleet often traveling to Northern Africa and the Middle east therefore , some aestretic influences came from that area too.

Good to know: Tuscany has many Romanesque churches and you can see how different they look from the Romanesque style in Pisa in towns such as San Quirico d’Orcia.

Tower of Pisa and Pisa cathedral just beside
Leaning tower of Pisa is one of the Italy’s famous landmarks.

Are there rooms inside the tower of Pisa?

The tower has two rooms: the room of the fish at its base and the bell cell a the 7th floor.

Is the tower of Pisa Unesco Workd Heritage Site?

The tower of Pisa and Piazza del Duomo in general entered the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites in 1987.

They are significant for their beauty, the wise use of space and also because of the influence they had on other buildings and even the history of science (see blow).

What did Galileo Galilei Discover at the tower of Pisa?

Galileo Galilei is said to have carried out experiments at the tower of Pisa.

He used the tower to study the behaviour of falling objects and observed that things of different wight landed at different speeds: this in turn allowed him and humanity in general to better understand the laws of gravity.

The beauty of the tower of Pisa saved it from destruction

In 1943, during the II World War, the allied bombed Pisa and destroyed a large part of the city.

The order was to also to destroy the tower as a hiding spot for snipers but the Sergeant Major who received the ordered though the tower was so beautiful, he took a little time before carrying it out.

It was a delay of one night only but, as it happened, in the morning news of the surrender broke and the tower was spared!

Can you climb up the leaning tower of Pisa?

Yes, you can climb all the way to the tops of the tower of Pisa. You can find all about visiting Pisa and the best tickets to get here.

I hope you enjoyed these fun and interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa and helped quench your curiosity!

If you love fun facts, don’t forget to also check out fun facts about Tuscany and fun facts about Italy.

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