Experts Urge the Closure of Tower of Pisa

From Reuters

Italy should close the Leaning Tower of Pisa because it is a danger to tourists, government-appointed experts said Friday.

"The tower is extremely sensitive to winds and earth tremors. . . . In some places the stonework is so damaged it shows signs of breaking off," scientists and technicians said in a report to Public Works Minister Giovanni Prandini.

"Letting tourists in takes no account of the dangers. For the public's safety, the ministry should look very closely at closing the tower and its vicinity," the report concluded.

Prandini, responsible for the 800-year-old tower, said in September that something must be done urgently about its tilt and asked the committee to come up with ideas within a month.

About 4 million people visit Pisa every year. Nearly 1 million of them pay about $3 to make the spiral climb up 294 steps to the top of the white marble tower.

The 14,000-ton tower, which sinks about .04 of an inch a year, is now nearly 16.5 feet off the perpendicular.

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