Italy's leaning wonder

Architectural marvel

Italy's leaning wonder

My fascination for the Tower of Pisa started in school, and later, when I read that every year the tower leans by one millimetre, my curiosity only peaked. I had an urge to visit the tower at least once. My dream materialised during my recent tour to Europe. Against the backdrop of the blue sky, when I looked at the magnificent structure craning my head, I was dumbfounded by its breathtaking beauty.

I had presumed that the structure might resemble our own Qutub Minar. I was under the impression that it might also be just another huge rude structure. But, when I actually stood near the foot of the tower, I was overwhelmed by the smooth appearance of the marble structure, which has no parallels.

It is hard to believe that 56-metre-high tower in Roman style is 900 years old. The construction that began in 1173 AD took more than two centuries to complete. According to available information, Bonago Pisano was the architect of the first phase of the tower. However, the actual builder of the monument remains a mystery.

In keeping with the beauty of the Tower of Pisa, there is a dome-shaped cathedral in front of it. To suit the dome shape, the vast expanse of the green turf has enhanced the beauty of the base. If one stands at the base, they won’t be able to see the leaning posture. It becomes discernible only when seen from different angles. Italian dictator Mussolini had passed an order to straighten the structure, but it was impossible.

Pisa is also a bell tower. It is said that to reduce its weight, some of the bells inside were removed. Most of the visitors have their photos taken beside the tower, holding their hand as if to prevent it from leaning. I felt like enjoying the profundity of the tower and its vertical beauty for ever. Perhaps, Keats had the tower in mind when he exclaimed, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ I was so absorbed in the magnificence of the tower that I snapped back to reality only at the ringing of the bell — sign that time was up.

In the Baptistery, situated in front of the tower, it is recorded that Galileo’s baptism took place in 1565. This structure has also enhanced  the overall splendour of the place. Arches at the top of the tower have increased the subtlety of the structure. As such, the place exudes old world charm.

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