The Tower of Pisa
is the legacy of Berta di Bernardo, who left a legacy in 1172 to build a bell tower for the Cathedral of Pisa. While it is quite a beautiful Romanesque structure, its fame mostly stems from the dramatic 4 degree lean. When the foundations were laid in 1173 they were poorly designed, only three metres deep on a thick layer of sand and loose rock. Within five years the original builders had to abandon the project due to the lean which had already developed. Optimistically, new builders restarted the project in 1272, trying to compensate for the lean by building the tower shorter on one side (giving either 296 or 294 stairs depending on which side you climb). The project stopped again in 1284 as the lean grew even more pronounced. Never one to let a bad project die, in 1319 a third set of builders took a stab at the project, finishing off the belltower in 1372, since when it has tipped ever more precariously forward. The most mysterious aspect of the leaning tower of Pisa, however, is the force it exterts on viewers, exhorting them to take amusing photos where they are holding up or pushing down that long-suffering architectural icon.