Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa

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9780143034506: Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa

A compelling biography of the iconic Tower of Pisa. In this unconventional biography, Nicholas Shrady recounts the rich history of the Tower of Pisa, a structure internationally recognized as both an architectural improbability and a cultural icon. Shrady traces the seminal events in Pisa that prompted the building of the leaning tower, the circumstances and progress of the tower's curse-ridden construction that began in 1173 but stopped for one hundred years after the first four stories were built - its stabilization still continues today - and its eventual conversion into an architectural phenomenon, which has captured the attention of scientists, scholars and tourists worldwide. Nearly a millennium old, the Tower has stood as a silent witness to the great historic and social events that unfolded around it and has influenced such historic figures as Dante, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galileli and Lord Byron. But Shrady goes beyond the construction and history of the tower and weaves together his narrative with studies of the highly-charged symbolism which successive epochs have projected upon the icon, each according to their needs. This is a compelling tale of inspired architecture and human machinations, of temporal ambitions and spiritual longing, of science and superstition, and of our persistent urge to gaze in awe at all that is improbable and strange as seen through the unique prism of the world's most resilient of bell towers.

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Product Description:

The campanile or bell tower in Pisa's Campo dei Miracoli would be one of the most famous and attractive buildings in the world even if it stood straight and true. The fact that it settled into a distinctive - and eventually alarming - tilt soon after its construction has made the tower an icon. Now the bell tower is instantly recognisable shorthand not just for Pisa but for Italy as a whole. Originally designed as a display of wealth and power in Pisa's heyday, successive generations have used it as a symbol to their own ends. For Percy Bysshe Shelley and his Pisan circle it had the romantic power of a ruin; during the Second World War it was a suspected enemy hideout, and only very narrowly escaped being bombed. Today, having been saved from dramatic collapse by a British soil mechanic, it is an architectural phenomenon and tourist money-spinner. In a hugely entertaining and informative narrative that features such vibrant characters as Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo and Il Duce, Nicholas Shrady finally reveals the secret history of the world's most famous architectural oddity.

About the Author:

Nicholas Shrady is the author of Sacred Roads: Adventures From The Pilgrimage Trail. His articles, profiles and reviews have appeared in Architectural Digest, The New York Times Book Review, Travel & Leisure, Forbes and Town & Country among other publications.

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