by 👨💻 Adam Yardley
One of Italy’s most famous landmarks, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, continues to court tourists and visitors year in, year out. For one thing, it’s a popular photo opportunity spot, with many people pretending to lean on the tower or to push it over. We have all seen the photos! In any case, news has emerged this week that the famous lean of the tower may actually be rectifying itself – should sightseers start worrying about the future of one of their favorite monuments?
According to BBC News, a surveillance team overseeing the Leaning Tower have advised that the momunment, which is thought to date back to medieval times, has straightened up by around 4cm per year. That’s an incredible 80cm straighten since 1998 – it may not seem like much on paper, but for a world-famous landmark that’s never not been on the lean, it’s very big news indeed. In fact, it was once on the verge of toppling over, as the tower was closed off to the public for investigation in 1990. It’s been a staple of the Italian landscape since the 12th century, according to records.
The recently-observed trend of the tower straightening itself back up, however, could mean that we see a completely upright monument in decades to come. The team overseeing the landmark have stated that the bell tower’s stability is ‘better than expected’, and that changes to the structure suggest that it is ‘as if it’s had two centuries taken off its age’ – according to Professor Salvatore Settis.
The news that the tower is slightly straightening up over the years has inspired some cheeky tourists to suggest that their continued photo opportunities in holding up the monument have contributed to its new lease of stability! However, it’s perhaps more likely that continued stabilization work on the unit has helped to rejuvenate the structure.
Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning less these days [video]
In any case, if the Leaning Tower does cease to lean eventually – what will happen to the tourism? Will it need to be renamed The Formerly Leaning Tower of Pisa? And what will all the tourists do – will it mean taking photos at a whole new angle? Maybe, maybe not – but for now, you likely won’t have anything to worry about if you’re heading to the continent to take a cheeky picture or two. Just enjoy those famous snapshots of leaners while they last!