joy magnetism: Lean to your left, lean to your right

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lean to your left, lean to your right

Magnet #668 - Leaning Tower of Pisa

I think out of all the magnets I picked up during our Italy trip, this one's my favorite. And I didn't even go to Pisa - my aunt and uncle brought this one back for me.

I love it for two reasons.

First, foremost, and most obvious, if you know me - because it's so pretty and blue! It's like Delftware, even though I know it's not. I guess maybe you'd call it Pisanoware?

Second, I love the history that this image shows us. The cornerstones were laid 836 years ago. The image on this magnet was painted about 180 years ago. And this Nova image shows the tower about 10-20 years ago before they started using modern technology to fix it, about 10 years ago.

Before this blogpost, I hadn't realized the tower was just the campanile for Pisa's cathedral. Shoot, before this trip, I didn't even know what a campanile was. It's just a freestanding belltower for the church/cathedral beside it - which totally explains the Duomo's very cool campanile in Florence, and the Campanile di Piazza San Marco in Venice.

But what kills me about this superduper gorgeous building is that they basically knew from early on the darn thing wasn't going to stay vertical. Who builds something, knowing that it could topple over? Apparently, these guys. So I'm thinking it's no surprise that not one person is definitively named the designer/builder - it's almost like no one wants to take the full credit.

I mean, upon completion 650 years ago, the tower was already leaning almost 5 feet off! Heh. Over the years, between the soft sand foundation and the weight of the bells up in the tower and more construction and numerous efforts to try and right the wrong, it just kept going about 1 millimeter a year.

Then in 1990, they were like, whoa, momma. So, they came up with a solution - which was great, because hello, it was something like 15 feet off its vertical!

Dudes. Can you imagine such a thing happening now? They'd be tied up in the legal system for as long as the building's been standing, man.
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