The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is a Masterpiece of Medieval Italian Architecture



The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Student’s name


Date of submission

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most medieval architecture established in the 11th century in Italy. The tower is the oldest building in the Cathedral Square utilizing many columns and arches, which represents the advanced understanding relating to load and weight characteristics. For instance, this tower depicts the broad architectural technology and the engineering knowledge of the Italian community since the past centuries. The outstanding height of the tower initially remained to be 60M tall but due to its leaning and sinking; it gained the highest height of 56.67M high (Burland & Viggiani, 2013). The tower of Pisa is famous due to its unaccounted tilt condition caused by the weak base situated on a dense section of clay structure. The leaning started to occur during the construction at the time when the architecture involved discovered that the Tower was located on a softy ground unable to withstand heavy weight of the building. The leaning of the building worsened as the construction continued over several decades until 1990 and 2001 when the building was stabilized after experts and engineers partially fixed the lean. The great Tower of Pisa has approximately 294 defined steps on the north and 296 on the southern part of the tower weighing approximately 14,500 tons. Additionally, the tower adopts a Roman square style of architecture with an outside diameter of 15.484 meters and a base width of 2.4384M. The structure was built as a freestanding bell tower of the Italian Cathedral in Pisa. Construction of this tower began in 1173. It took the engineers approximately 334 years to build the tower. Moreover, the construction was interrupted twice for 100 years due to the rise of civil wars in 19th centuries. Inside the tower, there are seven bells each representing one note of the Major musical scales. Various people cast the bells bearing different weights in various times with each bell set to ring at various times (Katrivanos, 2009).
The real identity of the Tower of Pisa architects remains a mystery. Sources describe Bonanno Pisano and Geraldo as the most successful architects of the first work of its construction. The second phase of the construction started in 1275, which is accredited to Giovani Di Simone and Tomaso Pisano as the engineers who finished the final stages of the building (Killinger, 2005).The construction of the tower began in 1173, and it faced numerous interruption caused by debts and intense civil wars. Consequently, the delay is also associated with the time the Architects took to correct the leaning condition. The tower was completed after decades of construction in 1372. Moreover, the time of delay for construction of the tower gave the building enough time to stabilize and strengthen itself beneath the soil. This condition reduced the possibility of the tower to topple down as argued by most critics and Italian artist who were against the construction of the Tower. The Pisa Republican war involving Genoa Florence and Lucca Republicans took nearly a century giving the foundation of the building enough time to stabilize (Procter, 1844). The Tower of Pisa was initially a simple city serving as a seaport in Italy. Later, the growth of the town attracted the construction of religious buildings giving rise to the construction of Pisa Tower. The city’s growth, fame and military power over the years enabled the people to trade constantly with each other leading to massive growth and development. History has it that the lucrative trade and the military strength of the Pisans made them conquer the Palermo city giving their city a lot of power and fame. This concept showed the world that the Pisa city was very crucial attracting the need to construct a historic building to serve as the Main cathedral center. The design of the building comprised of different cathedral structures ranging from a cemetery, a Baptistery, Cathedral and the Bell Tower (Veniale, 2000).
The building of the Tower adopted the Medieval Romanesque architecture style (Bucher, 1972). This style transformed the building into a magnificent monument consisting of carvings, columns arches and other design elements cooperated into the Construction of the tower. These construction styles and design were way ahead of Europe. This resulted in a structure that has remained timeless in appearance over the ages. The Tower of Pisa was built with a mixture of Limestone and limewater. The exterior of the building was covered in marble. Experts in Architectural designs argue that the quality of limestone is the reason the exterior has not cracked and broken over time. Additionally, the underlying rock remained flexible to withstand the considerable pressure exerted on it by the lean. The application of the Roman arch meant that the stones were supported in the middle by use of the arches structures. The strong stones used were hefty to prevent ceilings from buckling the walls outward. The walls was buttressed or supported by piles of stones placed at intervals along it. The windows of structures were kept small to maintain the strength of the walls. The vaults were used to enable stone roof construction.
The leaning Tower of Pisa underwent a sequence of stabilization. In 1934, Benito Mussolini tried his hand to strengthen the building to adopt a perpendicular state by claiming that the lean was a great embarrassment to Italy. The tower, which remained upright for four years, started leaning after the construction of the third floor in 1178. This condition shocked the world and the Italian citizens who perceived the lean as a great setback to the Italian architecture. The foundation of this tower was set at 3m deep on a clay mixture dense soil that was not strong enough to hold the huge weight of the building. The construction of this building faced numerous challenges. For instance, Engineer Alessandro Della in 1838 established a pathway at the base of the tower to enable people to see the crafted Tower base. This act reduced the soil stability making the tower lean more. With many attempts at stabilization, the tower of Pisa closed for construction in 1990. Later on, the Italian government declared it safe for people to tour. History has it that the leaning tower of Pisa took the longest time for construction than any other building in the world, approximated to be over 800 years (Ferrari, 2011)

The construction of this building had some economic consideration and effects to the State of Italy. First, Italy wanted to confirm their industrial and technological prowess to the entire world on architectural prowess. The design of the tower also included a show of economic status on the Republic of Italy. For instance, the structure initially meant to be a simple bell tower standing freely or a campanile of the cathedral church in the Pisa city. The economic consideration mastered in the design of this building involved the determination of plan and the required budget for scale. Pisa’s foundation was only 10 feet deep later sunk due to unstable soils not on bedrock. Additionally, the foundation and the plan were not fit for a single story building. The government lacked proper resources to support the construction of the Tower. For instance, there was series of failure in the funding of the construction project. During these times, campaniles or towers were normally built in Italy around the 10th century as a symbol of economic wealth and power. Moreover, The Tower of Pisa is a beautiful monument that has generated much income to the national government of Italy. Many Tourists and other visitors frequently explore this place. The tower acts as a Tourist and cultural attraction in Europe.
The Tower of Pisa has numerous social and cultural considerations. For instance, the Great churches, cathedrals, and palaces were built to recreate the past glory to mark the social and cultural prowess of Italy. Secondly, the significant designs of big churches and cathedrals symbolized social and economic transformations in Italy. The Tower attracted many people who generated revenue and enhanced cultural exchange among different people both locally and internationally. The great influence of the religious support led to the idea for the construction of Cathedral tower. It was the time when cultural backing rivaled the existing military might in the world. For the reason, the Tower of Pisa served as holy lands for crusades and other religious issues. The engineers borrowed the style after seeing the solid fortresses built in other parts of the world and mostly in the Byzantine Empire. This was the time marked by cultural and religious change in both the religious and Christianity fervor. Nevertheless, the design of this tower came at the time of many wars fueled by the spirit of conquering and getting wealth. Initially, the tower was used as a port and a viewpoint to stage their attacks on the Allied powers. The style of design also signified the needs of the population that were changing for victory; the buildings would be constructed as a show of power and mighty. Cultural diversity has changed Pisa’s image over years. For Instance, Tower of Pisa houses the best restaurants and other recreational facilities. In addition to that, this Tower is the ground for the Top Tier prestigious universities in Europe. Today there are no better social moments than to Visit the Tower of Pisa. The beautiful artistic restorations take the wonders of the world.
The general populace showed their diverse opinions on the construction of this tower. For instance, the majority of people in Italy criticized the leaning tower, with the majority considering it as a form of embarrassment to the Italy, which considered itself as a strong military power. Italian people did not like the fact that the greatest tower was to topple down due to the poor selection of construction site. The majority of individuals termed it as a waste of resources while others claimed that the leaning Tower symbolized the architectural inferiority of Italy. Later, after lean was corrected and the general population gained interests with the Tower. The sign of religious unity the tower symbolized moved the majority of people. The great attraction site and the generation of income through tourism attracted many people’s attention on the site.
Consequently, the design of this Tower also reflected various political factors and considerations. For instance, the structures for the construction of this tower were intended to provide a strategic location for conquering enemies. In this regard, the world war two manifested itself in this historic city. Italian government spent many of its resources trying to equip defense systems to the great tower of Pisa. Benito Muslim wanted to enhance the stability of the tower to end the political embarrassment Italy got from the leaning tower. Allied powers recognized the beauty of the tower making them drop their plans to bomb the tower used as a base by their enemy war forces. Benito regarded the Leaning Tower as an inappropriate political statement towards them.
Moreover, the Tower of Pisa has various philosophical significance. For instance, the tower represents the symbol of the philosophical prowess of Italy regarding architectural design and technology. Philosophically, Galileo used the tower to disapprove Aristotle’s law of gravity, which states that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones when released from a higher point. Galileo dropped two spheres of different weights from the top of Pisa Tower and noticed that both reached the ground at the same time (Cooper, 1936). According to Galileo, it is air resistance but not the mass of an object as suggested by Aristotle that influence the fall of objects from a higher point. The Romanesque design applied in the tower represents the mighty in dominance and conquering enemies. The leaning tower of Pisa is a cultural icon symbolizing the human ability to defy nature. The leaning tower of Pisa happened by accident and the Tower has fail to obey the law of gravity. The location of this structure symbolized a great determination of the state of the tower. The center of the miracle to the Tower of Pisa is very close to the water sources. For instance, the design of this tower symbolizes religious and social dominance in Italy.
Today, the power of Pisa has great significance both nationally and internationally. First, the tower is one of the most famous monuments in the world attracting millions of tourists. The study shows that majority of tourists in the world who visit Italy purpose to see the great leaning tower. The Tower of Pisa is a symbol of material wealth to the government of Italy. In this context, the tower has created millions of job opportunities for the population of Italy. This has transformed the lives of many at a greater height.
Historically, the tower has given a strong religious perception for the Pisans. , Moreover, the tower serves as a reflection of commercial prosperity to the economy of Italy. The seven bells housed in this tower have religious symbolism to cathedral believers. For instance, the seven bells serve different religious significance in the center of Cathedral miracles. The tower of Pisa is a symbol of hope and freedom. The tower is a symbol of unity portraying the ability to progress together through bountiful blessings without hatred on color, race or ethnicity. Additionally, the location of the Tower serves as a symbol of remembrance. The tower is located where the center of the religion of the Pisa city was situated.
In my opinion, I suggest that the tower of Pisa stability has been reinforced and, therefore, the government of Italy should encourage people to enjoy the wonders the Tower offers. The people should put aside their fear since the structure is reinforced and secure for human to live in. Moreover, the government should conduct constant checks on the building to confirm whether its stability lasts forever. These constant checks motivate people to carry out their activities without fear to promote unity culture and religion. In addition to that, more tourists will visit the tower generating much income to the nation. Maintenance of the building must be done regular. Painting must be done to make it more attractive. By doing so, the tower will have a higher possibility of giving much return to the Pisans by lasting for many years. In this regard, the world will have a great position to honor the great architectural masterpiece that has transformed the world’s architectural technology.
The tower, which was initially leaning, has undergone numerous changes. Some of the strategies have been adopted to straight up the tower. For instance, the tower has been fitted with sensor runs to monitor the movements of the tower and register the vibrations that might occur. Moreover, steel bands have been fitted around the tower to support the stones. The tower being the most monitored building in the world and the most tourist attraction site has undergone great changes over years. In 1993, architectures loaded 600 tons of lead ingots on the north side of the building to counteract the lean. Likewise, soil excavation method has been done in an attempt to save the tower from toppling. The soil removed from the higher north side of the tower reduced the lean of the tower by half a degree (Burland & Viggiani, 2009).
The leaning of this tower is connected with historical precedents done by the engineers attributed to have designed and constructed the building. For instance, the construction of the tower at a river estuary with loose soft sand and soil marked the beginning of failure for the success of the port. The soft sand-like texture fails to provide a firm foundation to hold the heavy building at a constant vertical position. The site manager attributed to this tower failed to establish the weaknesses the site had to the building. Although many strategies have been developed to counter the lean, various actions by Engineers deteriorated the condition of the tower. Some of the measures ranged from Benito’s drilling of holes into the tower flow affected the stability of the building. Other engineers proposed to dig two meters hole down the tower where water existed. This made the tower twist more southwards.
In conclusion, the Tower of Pisa is a great monument that has lasted over many years. Although the lean of the building is seen as an inappropriate symbol, several transformations have been achieved out of it. The government needs to put strategic policies to ensure that the stability of the building lasts forever to maximize the returns and benefits the tower has generated. To put more simply, this tower has made the world discover the architectural prowess of the Italian people.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.3
Figure 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 is a representation of the Tower of Pisa monument in Italy as extracted from;

Burland, J. B., Jamiolkowski, M. B., Squeglia, N., & Viggiani, C. (2013). The leaning tower of Pisa. Geotechnics and Heritage: Case Histories, 207.
Katrivanos, F. C. (2009). The Geologic History and Evolution of Italy: Highlighting the Relationship between Geology and Culture.
Killinger, C. L. (2005). Culture and customs of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Procter, G. (1844). The history of Italy: from the fall of the Western empire to the commencement of the wars of the French revolution. Whittaker & co..
Veniale, F. (2000). The leaning Tower of Pisa, Structure, building materials and reinforcement interventions. Materiales de Construcción, 50(259), 5-25.
Bucher, F. (1972). Medieval Architectural Design Methods, 800-1560. Gesta,11(2), 37-51.
Ferrari, C. (2011, September). Transgressive rhetoric and reactionary politics: avant-gardism, fascism, and the language of purification in Italy. InForum Italicum: A Journal of Italian Studies (Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 373-396). SAGE Publications.
Burland, J. B., Jamiolkowski, M. B., & Viggiani, C. (2009). Leaning Tower of Pisa: behaviour after stabilization operations. International Journal of Geoengineering Case Histories, 1(3), 156-169
Cooper, L. (1936). Aristotle, Galileo, and the tower of Pisa.

Did it help you?

Cite this Page

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is a Masterpiece of Medieval Italian Architecture. (2022, Jan 29). Retrieved from

Need customer essay sample written special for your assignment?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper

Without paying upfront