Leaning Tower Pisa Italy about 1892

LEANING TOWER, PISA — The city of Pisa is known throughout the world from the fact that it possesses a structure which is so far inclined from the perpendicular as to appear to be on the point of falling. Moreover, this leaning tower is as beautiful as it is extraordinary. It is of pure white marble, and the delicate colonnades which encircle it, ascending in a spiral to the lofty belfry, are marvels of grace and elegance. It has a height of about 180 feet, and is fourteen feet out of perpendicular. It is hollow inside, and looking from the top down its cylindrical interior is like gazing into a well. In spite of one’s conviction that a tower which has been leaning thus for nearly 600 years will not fall, it is impossible to avoid a slight feeling of nervousness, as one looks down from the lower side of the upper gallery. The sensation is peculiar, and one clutches the iron railing as he surveys beneath him the retreating marble wall. Close by this tower are other buildings which would make Pisa famous even without the assistance of its “leaning miracle,” namely, its grand cathedral of white marble, where there still hangs the chandelier whose oscillations led Galileo to invent the Pendulum. The Baptistry also is another marble building of remarkable beauty and possessing a marvelous echo, while the Campo Santo or Cemetery of Pisa close at hand, is a cloistered structure adorned with many statues, mediaeval monuments and splendid tombs. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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