Thursday 20 August
Today we joined the crowds in Pisa to see, climb, and of course take our photo holding up the leaning tower. It was really hot - 42degrees at 11am and so when we could we found little bits of shade to hide in, and at the end of the day when the sprinklers came on, the kids didn't mind getting just a little bit wet!
Building work for the tower stated in 1173AD but it stopped at the third stage as the building was already starting to collapse! A century later three more stages were added deliberately constructed to tilt in the opposite direction - and so the tower has not only a lean, but a kink! In 1989 the tower was closed as it was dangerously close to collapsing, and for the next 12 years engineers worked to stabilise it. In 2001 the tower reopened to the public but reconstruction work still continues.
It was amazing walking up the spiral stairs to the top of the tower because you really did feel the lean - going one way you definately leaned in towards the wall and the other side away from it. It was incredible looking at the stone steps as we walked up because they were so worn away by the many people who had climbed up and down the tower over the centuries.