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Public outing for Leaning Tower

MEMBERS OF the public were allowed inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa for the first time in 10 years last month.

The symbolic gesture, to celebrate the festival of San Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa, saw local schoolchildren and students climb some of the floors of the historic building for one day. The tower is not expected to be fully reopened until June next year.

'Although work is going very well, we can't afford to be complacent, ' said Professor John Burland of Imperial College, London, who is member of the international commission to save the tower.

'It is a little like raising the flag a third of the way up Everest.

'The work is about a third of the way through, however there are still some very difficult things to be done, ' he added.

Soil extraction, which began in the spring, aims to achieve 500mm movement in the top of the tower to make it safe for the next few centuries.

Augers are being used in 41, 225mm diameter steel cased boreholes to extract the soft clayey and sandy silts beneath the north side of the tower to rotate it back to a safe position.

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