This day in history

27 February - Pisa Tower needs help

On this day in 1964, the Italian government announces that it is accepting suggestions on how to save the renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa from collapse. It had been shifting since the first three stories were constructed on soft ground in the 12th century. A century later, four more stories were erected at a slight angle in the hope of correcting the tilt.

However, by the 1960s the tower was 17 feet off-centre and experts warned that the medieval building was in serious danger of toppling in an earthquake or storm. An average of 250 tourists climbed the tower daily, and some local officials feared that if the tilt were corrected, the tourists might stop coming.

In 1966 and 1985, attempts to reduce the lean by drilling were aborted when the tower tilted further south. In 1990, the Italian government closed the Leaning Tower's doors to the public out of safety concerns. Finally, in 1999 engineers began a process of soil extraction that showed positive effects.

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