Leaning Tower given a steel `corset'

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The Independent Online
THE NEXT stage in an operation to ensure that Pisa's Leaning Tower doesn't lean too far begins today. The delicate operation involves lacing steel cables to a wire "corset", which has been fixed around the tower at the height of the second loggia.

The twin steel cables will then be tied to metal pylons about 100 yards away, on the north side of the piazza, to act as a brace against any further tilt. A system of counterweights will ensure the cables linked to the tower remain taut.

"The braces are not intended to actively straighten the tower but to ensure its safety," said the site manager, Paolo Heiniger.

"If the lean seems to be increasing, or if there is a sudden movement, we could tighten the cables to hold it in place."

Concern has been expressed that cables crossing the Campo dei Miracoli in front of the tower will be an eyesore but the project's defenders say that is a small price to pay to save one of Europe's biggest tourist attractions.