Skip Navigation
Tilt book image

Tilt
Nicholas Shrady, signed by author
$20.00

In ‘Tilt’, author Nicholas Shrady reveals how the campanile, or bell tower, in Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli became the iconic Tower of Pisa. Even standing straight and true, the tower’s marble and lime façade would be instantly recognizable the world over. Yet its distinctive tilt, which measured 1.6 degrees from vertical when construction was completed in 1370, has long been a mystery. Was it the result of shoddy workmanship or the brainchild of a hunchback maestro who skewed the tower to avenge his own condition? Nearly a millennium since its construction, the tower still stands (more than 4 meters — or 5 degrees — askew) in defiance of logic, gravity, and soaring odds — a mute witness to history as it has unfolded. Envisioned as a display of wealth and power in Pisa’s medieval heyday, the tower was revolutionary in its design. Architectural sleight of hand lent the campanile the appearance of weightlessness even as it supported seven colossal bronze bells. Technical achievements and rare beauty aside, it is the tower’s glaring folly that has attracted legions of admirers and would-be saviors — even as it alarmed engineers. In addition to having defied the known laws of physics, the tower’s cylindrical masonry has concealed a storied past. Galileo was said to have launched his experiments on the velocity of falling bodies from atop its heights. Lord Byron, the Shelleys, and their Romantics frolicked in its listing shadow. Benito Mussolini tried to right the tower by ordering that cement be injected into its foundation. During World War II, the “Tiltin’ Hilton” was a suspected enemy hideout and narrowly escaped being bombed. Following a $30 million stabilization and restoration effort lasting more than a decade and into the twenty-first century, Pisa’s Leaning Tower has been preserved for the ages as an architectural marvel and a paragon of modern tourism. Tilt encapsulates the tower’s singular history in a hugely entertaining and informative narrative, by turns learned and whimsical, reverent and surprising. Here is a ‘biography’ that, like its subject, is all the more delightful for its thorough improbability. It is a celebration of inspired vision and human machinations, of supreme ambition and spiritual enlightenment, of science and superstition, of faith and miracles. / Nicholas Shrady is the author of ‘Sacred Roads: Adventures from the Pilgrimage Trail’. His articles have appeared in ‘Architectural Digest’, ‘The New York Times Book Review’, ‘Travel & Leisure’, ‘Forbes’, and ‘Town & Country’. Since 1986, he has made his home in Barcelona. His wife, Eva Ortega, and his sons divide their time between Barcelona and their olive grove in the hills above the Ebro Delta.

Publisher:
Penguin Books
Publish Date:
2003, NYC
Pages:
291
Format:
paperback
ISBN:
0143034502
Price:
$20.00

More Signed & Antique Books

Mademoiselle De Maupin

Mademoiselle De Maupin
Theophile Gautier
$14.00
Find out more

Speaking in Sign

Speaking in Sign
Teresa Anderson
$21.00
Find out more

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
$20.00
Find out more

View All Signed & Antique Books