Leaning Tower of Pisa

Introduction to Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, an iconic symbol of architectural resilience and creativity, is the freestanding bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral in Italy. It stands as a testament to medieval craftsmanship and is renowned for its distinctive tilt, a result of its construction on soft ground. Built in the 12th century, the 55.86-meter tall tower faced challenges from nature and wars but endured through the ages. Its notable inclination, originally at 5.5 degrees, was reduced to 3.97 degrees through remedial work from 1993 to 2001. Visitors can ascend 296 steps for panoramic views of Pisa, immersing themselves in history and craftsmanship.

A trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa offers more than visual delights; it provides a journey through time, appreciating the tower as a resilient testament to historical architecture. Its survival through the centuries makes it a must-visit spectacle of architectural triumph.

Leaning Tower of Pisa History

Why was the Leaning tower of Pisa built?

Located centrally within the historic ambience of the Italian city of Pisa, the Leaning Tower of Pisa remains a shining beacon of architectural prowess and a symbol of bygone eras. Answering the question of why was the Leaning Tower of Pisa built? It was mainly built as a bell tower, carefully designed to add to the beauty of the city's famous cathedral complex.

Who built the Pisa tower?

Debates have swirled around the true masterminds behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Historically, Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano were credited as the tower's chief architects. Yet, fresh insights and rigorous historical excavations hint at the potential involvement of Gherardo di Gherardo. Despite these ambiguities, one undeniable truth remains: the Leaning Tower of Pisa embodies a confluence of architectural genius spanning two centuries.

Construction of Leaning tower

As you get into the history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you will know that its construction dates back to 1173. The project was ambitious, and was led by the famed architect, Bonanno Pisano. But fate had other plans, by 1178, as the second floor neared completion, calamity befell the tower. The tower’s base was only three metres deep, which was too shallow for its weight, especially on the unstable ground.

This problem stopped construction for almost an entire century. However, this unexpected break might have saved the tower because it gave the ground time to settle. As the construction narrative of the Leaning Tower of Pisa unfolded, many architects, including the commendable Giovanni di Simone, lent their expertise.

To counter the tower's precarious lean, the subsequent floors were slightly angled. The culmination of this architectural saga was in 1372 when Tommaso di Andrea Pisano added the final brushstrokes by installing the bell chamber.

Leaning tower of Pisa during World war II

During World War II, in 1944, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was in danger of being destroyed. The Germans thought about tearing it down. However, local supporters and its importance as a world-known monument saved it. Even though there were bombings close by, the tower only had small damages, showing its strong character.

Survival through Earthquakes

Peering into the history of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you will also encounter the astonishing fact that this leaning marvel weathered around four earthquakes post-1280. An apparent architectural flaw transformed into its saviour. The soft soil, initially a curse bestowing the tower its iconic tilt, morphed into a shield. This soil's peculiar nature, not amplifying the tremors of earthquakes, endowed the Leaning Tower of Pisa with an unexpected resilience.

Italy’s request for aid

As the 20th century's twilight years approached, Italy voiced grave concerns regarding the Leaning Tower of Pisa. By 1964, the tower's exaggerated tilt and deteriorating state prompted Italy to summon global experts. Recognizing the imminent peril, the international community rallied to safeguard this emblematic landmark. The decisive action to preserve and stabilize the tower only gained momentum in 1990, solidifying the tower's legacy while retaining its iconic lean.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Architecture

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, an icon of medieval engineering, stands not just as a testament to human ingenuity, but also to the unpredictability of the Earth upon which it stands. This edifice is renowned for its unintentional tilt, a result of foundational instabilities, and yet, it's precisely this imperfection that has elevated the tower from a mere architectural marvel to a UNESCO World Heritage site, magnetizing millions globally.


Diving into the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll find its roots deeply embedded in a blend of clay, sand, and silt. Despite its foundational grandeur, the underlying soil's compressibility and sensitivity couldn't shoulder the tower's massive weight. Just imagine a meagre 3-meter thick foundation supporting such an imposing superstructure on this unstable subsoil! Differential settlement, a phenomenon where different parts of a structure sink to varying extents, played a significant role. The fluctuating water table in the region, which shifted more to the tower's northern side, further exacerbated this tilt.


Rising above the ground, the tower's superstructure is a glorious testament to Romanesque architectural marvels. The tower, initially designed to stand vertically at 185 feet, is an assemblage of white marble. Its beauty is undiminished, even as it leans. The construction interruptions, due to both foundational issues and regional wars, surprisingly added to its life span. By halting the construction intermittently, it unintentionally allowed the soil to regain lost strength, fortuitously preventing an early collapse.

Stabilization Efforts

Ensuring the tower's longevity required rigorous stabilization efforts. Engineers and restoration experts knew that completely rectifying the tilt would strip the tower of its unique allure. Hence, the goal was never to make it stand straight but to prevent it from toppling. Weights, summing up to 600 tons, were positioned on its northern side to stabilize it temporarily. Furthermore, soil from beneath this side was meticulously excavated to ensure both ends of the tower were equilibrated. These efforts, coupled with modern anchoring mechanisms, declared the tower, a proud UNESCO World Heritage site, stable for at least the next two centuries.

What to See at Leaning Tower of Pisa

The very instant your Leaning Tower of Pisa tour begins, there’s an overwhelming realization that this is more than a mere sightseeing trip. Each meticulously placed stone, every intricately etched design, has tales rooted in deep history. Admiring the walls, with their splendid blend of Romanesque and Gothic artistry, you can almost hear the hushed voices of ancient artisans, passionately sculpting their dreams and aspirations into this iconic structure. With every level ascended, not only do you unravel more about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but you're also presented with mesmerizing vistas of the expansive city beyond its walls.

The Stairway

One cannot help but marvel at the Leaning Tower of Pisa entrance, which introduces you to its labyrinth of stairs. Of the five stair sets, it's the duo of spiral pathways that beckon visitors to the summit. These aren't merely 294 stone steps; they are pages of a historical time, echoing the creativity, diligence, and unparalleled craftsmanship of the masterminds who birthed this marvel so many ages ago.

Narrow Spiral Stairs

A journey to the Leaning Tower of Pisa top unveils staircases that have withstood the test of time. More than just feats of medieval engineering, these eroded pathways bear silent testimony to the countless moments, events, and epochs they've witnessed, showcasing the tower's undying spirit and tenacity.

Feeling the Tilt

What sets the Leaning Tower of Pisa apart is its iconic external lean and the tangible slant one experiences within its walls. With each step, the tower's characteristic 4-degree tilt becomes more palpable. While the sensation can be disconcerting for some, it's a vivid reminder of the architectural elements and design as well as the rich history associated with this edifice.

Looking up

Lifting your gaze within the tower is akin to peering into a monumental kaleidoscope. The sun's rays, piercing through the glass ceiling, dance around the hollow cylindrical heart of the structure. Such artistic illuminations further underscore the importance of the Leaning Tower of Pisa entrance, leaving an indelible mark on one's memory.

Windows & Openings

The tower’s embrace of natural light showcases an age-old architectural preference. Forgoing the need for modern luminance, it welcomes the sun's rays through strategically positioned windows and openings, highlighting a seamless fusion between the monument and the nature surrounding it.

Bells on Top

Drawing closer to the culmination of your expedition, the harmonious chimes of seven bells, each resonating with a distinct musical note, enchant your senses. Not just decorative elements, these bells have been the voice of Pisa, echoing across its landscapes and waters for generations, etching themselves into the very soul of the city.

Glass Ceiling

The pentagon-shaped glass marvel crowning the Leaning Tower of Pisa is more than an architectural gem. Offering a unique viewpoint, it enables visitors to peer deep into the tower's soul, enriching their comprehension of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the artistic brilliance it embodies.

Panoramic views

The best part of the Leaning Tower of Pisa tour is the clear, wide view of Pisa. You can see famous places like the Cathedral Square from up high. This view shows how beautiful Pisa is and how important the Leaning Tower is to the city's story.

Facts About the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a remarkable symbol of both architectural grandeur and intriguing facts. Located in the heart of Italy, its unique tilt has captured imaginations worldwide. Delving into the question of why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa leaning? While the design originally intended for a straight structure, the unstable marshy land, known as "Pisa" in Greek, gave the tower its infamous lean. Over the years, various attempts to correct this lean led to its current state, making it an architectural marvel and testament to history's ever-evolving nature.

Pisa tower was not leaning originally

Initially, the tower was designed to stand upright. However, due to the region's soft soil and shallow foundation, the tower began its lean during its early construction phases. The tilt became more pronounced with time, even as engineers attempted to rectify it.

The tower has leaned in multiple directions

The Leaning Tower of Pisa hasn’t always leaned the way you see it now. Over centuries, multiple rectification attempts caused it to lean in various directions. By the 13th century, engineers tried to build straight upwards, but it just shifted the lean rather than correcting it.

It’s not the only Leaning Tower in Pisa

Pisa isn't home to just one leaning tower. The city's soft subsoil has led to multiple leaning structures, including the bell tower of the Church of St. Nicola and the church of St. Michele dei Scalzi. Both bear a distinct tilt; courtesy of the region's ground conditions.

Mussolini hated the Tower and made it worse

Benito Mussolini saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a national disgrace. His attempt to straighten it in the 20th century made the situation worse. Drilling holes and pumping grout only added weight, causing the tower to lean further.

The Allies intended to destroy the tower during WWII

During World War II, the Allies initially intended to demolish the tower, fearing German snipers would use it. However, its architectural beauty and significance saved it from such a fate.

Pisa survived four Earthquakes

Astoundingly, Pisa has survived four earthquakes. The tower's soft foundational soil, ironically responsible for its lean, acts as a buffer against seismic activities, preventing any catastrophic collapse.

Plan Your Visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Guided tours

Guided tours offer a unique and educational exploration of this iconic landmark. Led by knowledgeable guides, visitors can discover the rich history behind the tower's construction, its architectural marvels, and the tales of resilience that accompany its famous tilt. Below are some guided tours that you can choose for your visit to this iconic landmark.

Walking tours

  • Discover the rich history and iconic tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa through an enlightening walking tour. Within the Piazza dei Miracoli, besides the tower, marvel at other architectural wonders like the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Baptistery of St. John. Every step immerses you deeper into Pisa's historic heart.

Leaning Tower of Pisa priority entrance with guided tours

  • No one enjoys long waiting times, especially when eager to explore. By securing skip-the-line tickets to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you dodge the tedious queues and gain immediate entrance. Moreover, these tickets grant access to nearby attractions, amplifying the experience. Combine this with a guided tour for intriguing insights from a local expert.
Opening & Closing hours

The opening hours of the tower vary based on the season. From April to September, it's open from 09:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m. Notably, between June 17th and August 31st, the tower extends its hours from 08:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. However, winter months like December and January witness shorter hours, from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and ensure minimal crowds is during off-peak months like April to June and September to October. Furthermore, to optimize the experience, aim for early morning visits. From 10:00 a.m. to mid-afternoon, the tower sees its peak in visitors, resulting in a bustling environment.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Tickets Option

Fast track tickets

These tickets save time, especially during busy seasons, allowing you to quickly behold the iconic tower's 3.97° tilt. As you climb, experience a panoramic view from 57 meters above Pisa. Moreover, your tickets grant entry to the charming Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, showcasing ancient architectural skill.

Half day tickets

If you're in Florence, get half day tickets for a tour to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As you travel from Florence to Pisa, you'll see the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Your tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa ensure you get a clear view of the tower and the pretty Piazza dei Miracoli. To make your trip more interesting, a knowledgeable guide will share stories about Pisa's culture and efforts to protect it. Plus, a comfy bus from Florence makes sure your journey is easy and stress-free.

Combo day trip

Go on a special day trip from Florence to experience the beauty of Tuscany. Enjoy a tasty Tuscan meal at a nice wine villa, trying famous wines. Explore lovely Siena, see important places like Piazza del Campo and Piazza del Duomo. Visit the medieval wonders of San Gimignano for amazing views. Your online tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa let you see the impressive Duomo and Baptistery in Pisa. Finish the tour in Chianti to learn about its old wine traditions.

How to Reach Leaning Tower of Pisa


The Leaning Tower of Pisa is located in the town of Pisa, in Italy. It is situated in the Piazza del Duomo, also known as the Square of Miracles, which is located in the northern part of Pisa, about 1 kilometre from the centre of the town. The official address of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is Piazza del Duomo, 56126 Pisa, PI, Italy.

The closest station to Leaning Tower of Pisa is Pisa San Rossore. Situated at the junction of Via Giunta Pisano and Via Andrea Pisano, it is only 400 metres, or a brief 5-minute stroll from the Piazza dei Miracoli's entrance. Some might need to transfer to Pisa Centrale and catch a short train to San Rossore, given not all trains stop here. From there, either wait for a 15-30 minute transfer train to San Rossore or take a 22-minute walk to the tower.

How to reach

Leaning tower of Pisa is accessible by various means of transportation:

  • By PisaMover Shuttle: Accessible from both the airport and Pisa Centrale, Shuttle A runs every 5 to 8 minutes, guiding you straight to where the Leaning Tower of Pisa stands.
  • By Train: The Pisa Centrale, although prominent, is further than Pisa San Rossore. From Centrale, gear up for a 22-minute scenic walk to the tower.
  • By Bus: The LAM "ROSSA" bus towards Park Pietrasantina is your go-to. Get off at the Torre stop, with the entrance of Piazza dei Miracoli acting as your landmark. Alternatively, buses 3 and 4 also shuttle to the tower.
  • By Car/Bike: Those favouring a personal touch can opt for car or bike rentals scattered across the city, driving up to the address Leaning Tower of Pisa with ease.

There are several options for parking at Leaning Tower of Pisa:

  • Free Parking: Spots are available outside Pisa's walls, a short walk from the Cathedral Square. It's a park-and-ride setup, with no fees attached.
  • Paid Parking: Opt for the secure spot on Via Cammeo, right behind the tower. With day rates at €2 per hour and night rates at €1, it's worth the penny. Another nearby option is Via Vecchia Barbaricina, priced at €1,50 per hour.
  • Meter Street Parking: Blue-striped zones indicate available street parking. These meters typically charge between 8 AM to 8 PM, allowing free parking outside these hours.

Visit Similar Attractions in Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

As you meander through your Leaning Tower of Pisa tour, another monumental masterpiece, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, beckons with its splendour. The basilica stands as the world's largest church and an embodiment of Christian art. With its towering dome designed by Michelangelo, it offers an expansive view of the city when climbed. Beyond its façade, the interiors dazzle with golden mosaics, marble, and architectural nuances. 

Michelangelo's Pietà, sculpted when he was just 24, is a centrepiece of sheer beauty and emotion. Alongside it, the tombs of several popes, including St. Peter the Apostle, provide a solemn and reverent environment. This holy site has not only been a destination for Catholic pilgrims but also for art and history enthusiasts keen to discover more about the Renaissance era, much like they learn about Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Accademia Gallery

Florence, a mere detour from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is home to the renowned Accademia Gallery, an emblem of the Italian Renaissance. While Michelangelo's David, a 17-foot marble giant, stands at the pinnacle of sculptural masterpieces, the gallery is home to other notable works by the maestro, like 'Prisoners' or 'Slaves,' which provide a glimpse into his sculpting process. 

Amidst the corridors, you'll find a rich collection from artists like Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, painting a vivid tableau of the flourishing art scene of the time. The gallery's musical instrument section, housing instruments used by the Medici family, further deepens one's appreciation for the multifaceted culture surrounding the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Doge’s Palace

Venice, with its beautiful canals and historic allure, proudly showcases the Doge's Palace, an attraction with several similarities to the Tower in Pisa. An epitome of Venetian Gothic architecture, this palace served as the residence of the Doge, the supreme authority of the Venetian Republic. Within its walls, grand council chambers adorned with works by Tintoretto and Veronese unfold tales of a bygone era. The palace's intricate lattice works and pink Verona marble are a testament to the craftsmanship of the age. 

Connected by the infamous Bridge of Sighs, the palace and the prison narrate tales of political strategies and the grim fate of prisoners, respectively. Meandering through the opulent rooms and the historic Senate chamber, one can't help but draw parallels with the stories and historic richness they uncover about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Tips to Visit Leaning Tower of Pisa

Explore the surroundings
Climb the tower
Photography tips
Rules and Restrictions

Besides the Leaning Tower, the Campo dei Miracoli boasts other remarkable monuments that showcase Pisa's rich history, including the stunning Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Monumental Cemetery.

For those with limited time, a horse carriage tour offers a quick yet charming overview of Pisa's highlights.

Visit Nearby Attractions >>

  • Be prepared for a physical challenge as there are 297 steps to the top.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time. If late, you won't be allowed in and no refunds are given.
  • Those with cardiovascular and muscular disorders should avoid the climb.
  • Children under 8 are not permitted. Those between 8-18 must be with an adult.

View From Top Of Leaning Tower Of Pisa >>

  • Always remember to honour the deep historical importance of the monument.
  • While the classic 'holding up the tower' shot is popular, don't hesitate to be innovative with your poses.
  • It is important to note that scaling the tower for pictures is not allowed.

Things To Do Near Leaning Tower Of Pisa >>

  • All bags should be deposited in the designated cloakroom before entering.
  • A standard visit to the Leaning Tower usually spans about 35 minutes.
  • The tower has made arrangements for disabled visitors, though certain conditions apply.
  • Visitors can avail of free parking located just outside the walls of the tower.
  • For everyone's protection, safety protocols, including thorough sanitisation, have been implemented.

Plan Your Visit to Leaning Tower Of Pisa >>

When planning your Leaning Tower of Pisa tour, ensure your visit goes smoothly by remembering these essential rules:

  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa limits entry to 45 people per time slot. Pre-booking is crucial to secure your visit.
  • Children below 8 years are not allowed. Those aged 8-10 must be under adult supervision. It's wise to have ID proof for children in case age verification is needed.
  • Upon arrival, deposit all belongings, including bags, at the free lockers near the ticket office. You're allowed only cameras, phones, and water bottles during the ascent.
  • Always aim to reach 20 minutes before your scheduled slot, factoring in time for depositing items and potential delays.
  • The final entry is 30 minutes before the Tower closes.
  • Visitors with disabilities are entitled to free tickets. Additionally, guide dogs for the disabled are permitted inside.
  • For photo enthusiasts, arriving early in the morning allows you to capture the essence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa without many bystanders.
  • Climbing the tower requires stamina. The ascent, while picturesque, includes more than 290 steps.


Why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa leaning?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans due to unstable foundational soil. Initially, when construction began, the soft ground, made up of a mix of clay, fine sand, and shells, couldn't adequately support the tower's weight. This imbalance led to its characteristic tilt, which became more pronounced over the years.

Where is the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa stands proudly in the city of Pisa, situated in the picturesque Tuscany region of Italy. Specifically, it's in Piazza dei Miracoli, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Why was the Leaning Tower of Pisa built?

The tower was constructed as a freestanding bell tower, intended to accompany the Pisa Cathedral in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Its purpose was both functional, as a bell tower, and symbolic, representing the city's affluence and architectural prowess.

Will the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall?

Over the years, numerous restoration and stabilization efforts have been made to prevent the tower from falling. Today, thanks to these interventions, the tower is in a safer state and is not expected to collapse in the foreseeable future.

When was the Leaning Tower of Pisa built?

Its construction began in 1173. However, due to wars, debts, and design modifications, the tower's completion spanned about 200 years, culminating in the late 14th century.

Who designed the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

While the tower's exact architecture remains a topic of debate, Bonanno Pisano is commonly attributed as the primary designer. However, there were likely multiple architects and engineers who contributed over its prolonged construction period.

Is there an elevator in the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

No, the tower lacks an elevator. If you wish to experience the panoramic views from the top, you'll need to climb the 294-step spiral staircase—a rewarding effort for many.

Why is the Tower of Pisa leaning?

The tilt is a result of the tower's foundation being laid on a dense clay mixture, which proved to be inadequate to support its weight uniformly. As the ground settled unevenly, the tower began its iconic lean.

Can you climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Yes, you can venture up the tower. But prepare for a unique experience—the tilted perspective can be disorienting! Wearing comfortable footwear is essential given the long climb.

Can you enter the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Yes, you can access the interior and ascend to the top. But be mindful: there are regulations in place for safety. Children below 8 aren't permitted, and those between 8-18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Buying tickets in advance is often recommended due to the tower's popularity.

Can you see the Leaning Tower of Pisa from a train?

The tower's visibility from a train largely depends on the route and the train's proximity to Pisa. Some routes might offer a fleeting glimpse from a distance, but for an unobstructed, close-up view, a direct visit is your best bet.


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