The Leaning Tower of Pisa now leans a little less than before

The Leaning Tower of Pisa now leans a little less than before

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is known worldwide for its precarious tilt – but now experts have revealed it’s going straight.

After more than two decades of efforts to straighten it, engineers say the famed Tuscan bell tower has recovered four centimeters more and is in better structural health than predicted.

The tower, which has leaned to one side ever since it began to take shape in 1173, has lost 4cm of its tilt over the past two decades, according to a report from the surveillance group that meets every three months to give updates on the monument’s condition.

Italy’s ANSA news agency quoted a consultant to the international committee monitoring the tilt, Nunziante Squeglia, as saying that while the progressive recovery of tilt is good news, the overall structural health of the tower is more important.

“Since restorative work began, the tower is leaning about half a degree less,” said Nunziante Squeglia, a geotechnics professor at the University of Pisa who works with the group. “But what counts is the stability of the tower, which is better than initially predicted.”

The structure, which was badly damaged during the second world war, and closed to the public in 1990, but again reopened in 2001 following work to reduce its slant.

By using hundreds of tonnes of lead counterweights at the base and extracting soil from under the foundations, engineers initially shaved 43 centimetres off the lean.

And while engineers may ultimately take credit for rescuing the relic, visitors can rest assured it’s still available for the obligatory pictures…

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