Venice, Italy (WiredPRNews.com) — Galileo, one of the world’s most renowned astronomers, used to disappear inside Rome’s leaning tower of Pisa to conduct experiments on gravity prior to his imprisonment by the Vatican’s Spanish Inquisition. What Galileo did not realize, however, was that the very site of his research and studies would turn into an iconic Italian structure itself due to gravity.
Since the 1700’s, the 14,000 ton free-standing bell tower has stood as a globally recognized architecture marvel resting in the same magnificent ranks of Rome’s Colosseum. Built in separate phases between 1174 and 1370, the tower only recently began to sink by a millimeter per year in 1990 and was closed off from tourists for nearly 12 years.
According to Reuters, “The tower’s tilt of about [thirteen feet] off the vertical has remained stable in recent years, after a big engineering project that ended in 2001 corrected its lean by about 40 centimeters from where it was in 1990 when the project began.”
According to an engineer who has been monitoring the tower, construction adjustments and engineering improvements have been set in place that should stabilize the structure for at least another 300 years. Professor Michele Jamiolkowski, an engineer and geologist, told an Italian newspaper, “All of our expectations have been confirmed.”
Although adjustments have been made to slightly straighten the tower, officials confirm that there are no future plans to completely erect the tower to a 90 degree angle because doing so “would detract from its unique status and tourist draw.” The leaning tower of Pisa is now considered a safe structure as most closely represents what the original state of the structure was in the 1700’s.
Wired International ReporterTower of Pisa