8-year Project Completed: The slightly less Leaning Tower of Pisa





The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been returned to its former glory after an eight-year restoration project in which it was cleaned and partially straightened.

Restorers used chisels and hi-tech laser technology to scrub grime from the more than 24,000 blocks of stone that make up the 183ft tall tower.

The world famous monument has also had its famous list partially corrected after engineers managed to straighten it by 18 inches from the vertical, returning it to its 1838 position.

"The stones were in an appalling state, mainly due to air pollution, though tourists and pigeons played a part," explained Anton Sutter, the Swiss-born leader of the £20 million restoration effort.

The tower had also been badly damaged by sea salt – Pisa was once on the coast and became a powerful maritime republic until its harbour silted up.
Salt-laden water gusting in from the coast, which today lies seven miles away, could not drain away because of the tower's peculiar tilt.

"The columns (of the tower) are decorated with capitals: flowers, ghoulish faces, fantastical animals," said Mr Sutter.

"But sea salt carried on the wind and rain water that collects in certain areas because of the tower's tilt have damaged many.

"We've taken out the concrete used in past restorations and cleaned up the pigeon dirt, graffiti and handprints left by tourists."...

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