Leaning Tower of Pisa

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The tower in Pisa, Italy, is famous simply because it leans. Although the tower is famous because it leans, it is an outstanding example of Romanesque architecture, and would probably be famous, even if it didn't lean. The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in) from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical. It was estimated that the lean was increasing by one inch every 20 years.

In 1172, a wealthy widow named Berta di Bernado, left sixty coins in her will to buy stones to begin the construction of the tower. It is a bell tower to accompany the cathedral that it stands next to. The construction was begun on August 9, 1173. Due to the fact that the people of Pisa were involved in a lot of wars, with several stops to fight, it took until 1350 to complete the building. The tower is circular, and made up of eight floors of limestone and lime mortar, covered on the outside with marble. The outside of each level has columns and arches. The first stage was the building of the first three floors; this began in 1173 and stopped in 1178, when Pisa was at war. Construction began again in 1275 under an architect called Giovanni di Simone. He built the next three floors, and again work was halted until 1319. The final two floors were added between 1319 and 1350. The bell-chamber was not finally added until 1372. There are seven bells, one for each note of the musical major scale. The largest one...
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