PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI
THE LEANING TOWER
The worldwide famous Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower) is situated behind the Duomo (Cathedral). It is the third building in Piazza dei Miracoli and is the Campanile (Bell Tower) of the Duomo.
The circular eight orders tower rising 58.363 meters above its foundations has an outer diameter of base of 15.484 meters and an inner one of 7.368 meters. It was covered throughout of white marble and the exterior was inlaid with different coloured marbles.
The six orders of loggias and the bell-chamber topping them rest on a base, which subdivide the Tower into eight orders. The loggias are composed of graceful marble arches supported on delicate slender columns topped by equal exquisite carved capitals.
The base is ornamented by a set of blind arches positioned on short slim columns with gorgeous carved capitals. Below them, there are a series of geometrical adornments inlaid with different coloured marbles with wonderful rosettes in relief set in the middle of each one.
The sole entrance door is positioned to the west of the base. Above the entrance door there is an aedicule enclosing a delicate marble bust of the “Madonna con Bambino” from the 14th century, while at both of the sides of the door there are small friezes with adornments in relief representing legendary animal and beasts, as well as small ships like the ones gathering the fleet of the Republic of Pisa in the age.
The interior of the Tower is shaped like a huge cylindrical bell. A spiral staircase of 239 steps climbs up to the bell-chamber. In the indoors of the bell-chamber there are seven bells corresponding to the notes of the musical major scale. The biggest one was set up in the mid of the 17th century.
The private secretary to Galileo Galileo (Pisa, 1564 – Arcetri (Florence), 1642) commented on that around 1590 Galileo made the experiments regarding the fall of gravity from the Leaning Tower. He requested to a few men to throw down from the bell-chamber two ball cannons of different masses to prove that their dropping speed was not related to their mass.
The construction of the Tower, which began on August 1173, was mainly carried out -as well as the entire Piazza dei Miracoli - to make known all over the Mediterranean coastal the prosperity of the Marine Republic of Pisa when it was at its apex, due to the privileges that were given to the city during the crusades, as Pisa had been one of the main armament shippers to Palestine. Therefore, Pisa became one of the principal import Middle Eastern traders in west Europe.
In the 11th century the Republic of Pisa had already expanded its politic and commercial dominion over the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Elba. In the 12th century Pisa had the control over the trading routes of the entire coast of Tuscany, from Portovenere to Civitavecchia. Because of the important support it gave to the Ghibelline cause at the age of Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190, the Republic of Pisa enlarged its commercial influence over the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, which included: a half of Palermo, Messina, Salerno and Naples, as well as the entire territories of Gaeta, Mazzarri and Trapani.
Visit also in Details:
Piazza dei Miracoli -Piazza dei Cavalieri -Pisa Baptistery - The leaning Tower - Pisa
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