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Leaning Tower of Pisa Starts Straightening Up

Rome (November 23, 2018): The Leaning Tower of Pisa is now stable and has even straightened slightly, thanks to engineering work to save the world-renowned tourist attraction, experts said.

The tower’s Surveillance Group – set up to monitor restoration progress – said in a statement that after 17 years of observation, “the Tower of Pisa is stable and very slowly reducing its lean”.

Engineering Professor Nunziante Squeglia of Pisa University said that the 57m tall monument had straightened by 4cm, Italian media reported.The so-called Surveillance Group was set up after Professor Michele Jamiolkowski, an engineer of Polish origin who adopted Italian nationality, coordinated an international committee to rescue the landmark between 1993 and 2001.

The Tower was closed to the public in January 1990 for 11 years over safety fears, as its tilt reached 4.5m from the vertical. It has since been straightened by more than 40cm.

The medieval tower, a symbol of the power of the maritime republic of Pisa in the Middle Ages, has leaned to one side ever since building started in 1173.

When corrective work began on the tower it was leaning 6 degrees, or 13 feet, off the perpendicular on its south side. Soil was removed on the opposite side to reverse its trajectory.
“Technically it has been an incredibly complex work — but the concept of the project is easy to understand,” Settis said. “The tower is leaning towards the South, so part of the soil under the northern side, basically sand and clay, was eliminated, creating cavities that the weight of the tower is now closing”.
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