Is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

We visited Pisa on a somewhat gloomy day. It was pouring when we arrived in Pisa from Florence, but the weather cleared up when we got from the train station to where the tower  was. There were plenty of people holding up their hands, trying to super-impose themselves pushing the building or holding it with the tips of their fingers. For me, I was quite taken in by the lean of the tower This then begged the question – is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? The entrance ticket was €18 for adults (and includes admission to the Pisa Cathedral too).

About The Leaning Tower of Pisa

paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Pisa Cathedral looks lonely.

I read about the Leaning Tower of Pisa since young – it was part of my children’s encyclopedia of fun facts. There was a mention of Pompeii and the Colosseum too, which I managed to visit on this trip and I am quite glad for that.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was described as one of the world’s few naturally leaning buildings. (Today, there have been others which have followed in its footsteps, but were built to lean.) The tower started to lean due to an unstable foundation. According to Wikipedia, construction of the tower started in the 12th century and was only completed close to 200 years later, in the 14th century. The lean worsened to 5.5 degrees as the soft grown below could not support the weight of the tower. The structure was later stablised at a tilt of 3.97 degrees. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 8 floors and 294 steps; the 7th floor has two fewer steps on the staircase facing the north.

A fun fact – the Tower has faced 4 earthquakes since the 13th century but did not collapse. Research later revealed that it was the interaction of the building’s height with the soft soil which created a frequency that prevented the structure from resonating to ground motion experienced by buildings during earthquakes.

Is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning or not, the architecture is quite beautiful.

I’ve got to admit that the entrance ticket of €18 was rather pricey, especially since I didn’t have much interest in visiting the other attractions. But I thought it was worth it because I wanted to experience climbing up a leaning building. It was slightly disorientating at times but worth the experience. Here are three reasons why I think its worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We completed the ascend in less than 15 minutes and the descend in about 10 minutes.

1. A unique experience climbing the stairs of the tower

climbing up leaning tower of pisa steps
You get a sense that the tower swings to one side.

While climbing up the stairs, it felt a little disorientating as I felt that the building was inclined to one side. I would say that it took me a little more effort to get my balance. If you need to reoriented yourself, simply look out of one of the Tower’s many windows. The bird’s eye view of the city of Pisa is quite calming.

Leaning Tower of Pisa window view
Looking out.
paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Rooftops of Pisa – it’s a lot less dense. There are hills in the distance.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The spiral staircase – notice the indentations on the outer steps.

The outer area on the steps were also indented – a testament of the number of footsteps pounding on its marble staircase, a sign of how popular the Tower was.

Leaning Tower of Pisa
A mighty bell on the roof.

2. You have travelled all the way here so why not

Leaning Tower of Pisa
How the tower looks like from the top.

If you’re in Pisa, you might have travelled an hour from Florence or 4 hours from Rome to get there. This goes against the sunk cost fallacy but I would have felt incomplete if I returned to Florence without entering the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is also my way of contributing to local conservation and restoration efforts, for the short time that I am there.

3. Some appreciation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa wouldn’t hurt

paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Using the cypress tree as benchmark.

If I was the guardian of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I would be somewhat annoyed. Many people stream in to take photos with it, but who actually knows some facts about the building? Besides taking a nice Instagram photo, why not include a fun fact in your caption as well…

***

The Travelling Squid’s Take

Having climbed up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I would say that the tower is not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. The marble used in its pillars, stairs and walls was beautiful, and the trip up was memorable too. Is it worth paying to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? I would say definitely yes, because the feeling of climbing up a leaning tower is one-of-a-kind. The experience was also very different from climbing up the Florence Cathedral, or the Milan Cathedral too. Each building had its own quirks.

Enjoy!

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