We spent a few weeks staying in Parma Italy which was amazing and a great hub for day tripping around Italy due to its central location and train station. On one such day trip we took the train to Pisa to visit the famous leaning tower.
The tower is pretty cool, but what we never knew is that the tower doesn’t stand alone. It is just one building amongst numerous magnificent others in a grand walled plaza – Piazza dei Miracoli (plaza of miracles) formerly Piazza del Duomo (plaza of the dome – referencing the cathedral). The Leaning Tower was built as the bell tower for the cathedral and was intended to stand straight. The soft soil and inadequate foundation caused the tower to lean rather dramatically even before the tower was completed (which took over 170 years). While its heavy base kept it from tipping over it would only be a matter of time before the angle would become too great and the whole thing would topple over. The leaning was counteracted during latter stages of construction by making some sides of each new floor taller than the other. However this only delayed the issue. Eventually restoration was necessary and in the 1990s the tower was pulled and lifted into an acceptable angle of lean of around 4 degrees from 5.5 degrees.
Before we arrived we had heard that you can’t go up the tower any longer. I think this was a lingering belief from the 90’s that is completely false today. Upon arrival we purchased tickets to visit the tower, Duomo, baptistery, and camposanto. There are package tickets for a discount or you can purchase them separately if you don’t want to go to each building. However you really should at least visit the Duomo and baptistery, they are in my opinion better than the tower. The tower is really just a bunch of tilted stairs until you get to the top where there are some cool bells and a decent view of the city.
In Civilization V I usually try to build The Leaning Tower because of its 25% Great Person bonus and free Great Person of your choice. A Great Person is always useful, though I usually end up selecting a Great Engineer so that I can just hurry production on some other Wonder.