It really does lean

The ultimate in touristy things to do when visiting Italy is to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. So when I was in the region recently, I had to go see it.

“Leaning Tower” is not technically its name, since the structure is part of a quartet of religious buildings on the site referred to as the Field of Miracles. It is actually called the bell tower, along with the duomo, the baptistry, and the cemetery. The famous name refers to its rather substantial tilt, a by-product of soft sand on one side which allowed it to sink a few inches every year, which began shortly after its construction began in 1173.

It looked like a pretty dramatic angle to me, but, surprisingly, its lean was even more pronounced before 2001 (at 5.5 degrees) when engineers were able to pull it back (to 3.99 degrees) and stabilize the ground beneath it. And now, it apparently moves no more. But, touristy or not, a building that leans is something you don’t see everyday. (And yes, I did the “holding up the tower” photo op!)