Leaning Towards Pisa (#34)

I really could not think of how to photograph the Tower of Pisa in a way that has not already been captured millions of times. Furthermore, the place was jammed-packed with tourists wanting to get a picture with the famous monument. Wherever I stood, someone was always in front of me, posing stiffly, doing handstands and other quirky gestures to remember their visit to Pisa.

Eventually, I gave up trying to get a decent photograph and just decided to walk around the buildings that make up the Square of Miracles. On the way out of the main entrance, I turned round to have one last look.. and lo!!…there was my opportunity! There were no people as the spot was considered too far away from the Leaning Tower. Unfortunately, there was no object nearby to draw attention to the Tower, except for a heavy iron chain along the grass verge.

I decided to photograph the Tower of Pisa as the background instead of main subject. I felt quite pleased with the result. The eye is still drawn to the Leaning Tower, even though it remains in the background.

The Leaning Tower is actually the free-standing Campanile (Bell Tower) of Pisa’s Cathedral. Its construction began in the 1173 and continued for about two hundred years. The bell tower is leaning as a result of a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that caused one side to sink. A spiral staircase with 294 steps leads to the top of the tower, where one can get a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.

The Tower of Pisa stands 56 m (184 ft) high with an estimated weight on 14,500 tonnes. With this weight, you can understand why it was not possible to strengthen the Tower’s foundations and shift it back to its perpendicular position!

Piazza del Duomo, comprising  the Cathedral, with its bronze doors and mosaics, the Baptistery, a round Romanesque building with an early Renaissance pulpit, the Campanile (the Leaning Tower), the walled cemetery Campo Santo with its frescoes, are listed under UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.



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