At Tour Italy Now we’re developing a series titled Fun Facts About Italy. Take some time to read these fascinating facts about some of Italy’s most famous attractions and you are sure to discover things you didn’t know before. You can file each list away until it’s time to start planning your next Italian vacation, then ask us how to turn your favorite facts about Italy into the customized tour of a lifetime!
Today we bring you five fun facts about Pisa’s Leaning Tower, one of Italy’s most popular attractions.
Did you know:
1. The Tower is actually a bell tower, and the bells are rung twice on Sundays. Keep that in mind if you are planning to go!
2. The Tower, along with the cathedral, baptistry and cemetery are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its popularity, the site was closed to the public for over a decade between 1990 and 2001, so that a major restoration project could occur. The restoration left the world famous tower leaning less than it had prior to the ten year engineering project. It now leans 4 degrees, rather than the 5.5 degree tilt that was visible prior to the project. So if you’ve been thinking that the Leaning Tower doesn’t seem to be as off balance as you thought it was, you are absolutely right! Spend some time in Pisa tracking down photos of the Tower from before and after the restoration so you can dazzle your friends with this fascinating fact when you return home from Italy.
3. During World War II, the U.S. Army contemplated the unthinkable. When it was learned that the Germans were using the Tower as an observation post, US Troops considered leveling it with explosives. Fortunately, they decided against bombing what has been one of Italy’s most popular tourist spots for years.
4. The Tower has two steps fewer on the north-facing staircase, just 294 steps, while the other staircase has 296 steps.
5. The Tower leans because the soil below it is not particularly solid. But the Tower is safe, thanks to the restoration completed in 2001.
Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa on your Italy bucket list?
Explore it with Tour Italy Now!