Free Landmarks & Concert in Pisa Celebrates 850 Years of the Leaning Tower

The Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa

The charming city of Pisa hosts the architectural marvel that has attracted visitors for centuries – the Leaning Tower, or Torre Pendente di Pisa. Built after the Cathedral and Baptistery in the Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli), the tower is one of the oldest gravity-defying wonders in the world. 

So old in fact, that on August 9, the city will commemorate the 850th anniversary of the very first stone laid as the foundation of the Tower in 1173. Only after its completion in 1350, did the settling of the foundation cause the iconic tilt. The celebrations of the Tower will take place at the Toniolo Auditorium inside Museum of the Opera del Duomo with a conference hosted by the Museum’s president, the Mayor of Pisa, and the city’s Archbishop to discuss new initiatives. 

A series of events will play out for the rest of the day, paying homage to the Tower’s rich history. Bells will ring at noon, the height of the day, echoing a theme of resiliency over the centuries. As the sun sets, and the dark envelops the square, a projection from the tower will illuminate the external walls of the Opera Museum with the official 850th anniversary logo. 

From 8:30 pm to midnight, these hours are the city’s secret gift awaiting locals and visitors alike to step inside all the monuments (excluding the Leaning Tower for safety reasons) around the Piazza dei Miracoli for free, including the Cathedral and the Baptistery for a unique journey through Italian art and history.

At 9:45 PM, the steps of the Cathedral will become a stage for Maestro Ramin Bahrami and his piano and the sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and other composers. This grand Cathedral has its beginnings in 1063, by the architect Buschetto after the Pisa residents had won a naval battle in the Bay of Palermo to the Moors. The enormous Baptistry just next to it, has the biggest recorded diameter of any Italian baptistry with a curiously shaped circular plan to mimic the empty Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem.

Remarkably, recent assessments reveal some development regarding the Tower – after multiple attempts to right it, and many failures, an inspiring retraction of 43 centimeters is affecting its 19th century incline, almost like a miracle. Despite the Leaning Tower’s structural changes and and meticulous observation, the tilt serves as a unique source of fascination and concern. Exhibitions, concerts, and initiatives promise to engage those with a shared appreciation for this architectural marvel, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Milla Elizabeth)