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The New York Times, June 12, 1898, p.13:


The Many Wonders of the Famous Old Leaning Tower.
Custodians Who Chant the Praises of Rival Attractions and
Increase Their Earnings by Enlarging Their Stock of Vile English.

    PISA, May 7.--It is a relief to see flat land again after a surfeit of hills. For months along the Mediterranean we have had nothing but hills and mountains. Whether in Marseilles, in Nice, Monaco, Vintimille, or Genoa, you are no sooner down one hill than you begin to climb the next; and the outlying mountains are not beautifully green like ours, but bare, cream-colored rock. I think I have not seen a smooth, level field before since the day last fall when I went out to Velaux, in Provence, to see oil pressed out of olives. But here we have the luxury of perfectly level ground. There is not as much as an undulation in the whole of Pisa, as far as I have seen.
    The Arno seems to have some doubt about which way to run. In the days when Pisa was a seaport there was another river here, the Serchio. The two united and flowed into the sea by the same channel. But the Serchio changed its course a few centuries ago, and is no longer visible.

    Instead of taking us directly to the leaning tower, as we told him, the driver managed to circuit about the town a little first, fearful perhaps that the four monuments might be too great a shock if taken suddenly. We went down the Lung'arno, on the river bank, for a block or two, with cream-colored stone houses on the left and the river wall on the right, and a crowd of people in the street, it being the fashionable hour for Pisa to air itself and stare at such strangers as arrive.
    There were some English and Americans among the people, easily distinguished by their dress and their red-covered guide books. I have contracted the guide-book habit myself in Italy, some aid in a country where I know nothing of the language.

The Palazzo Toscanelli.

    I have ventured before to say that a traveler with no special knowledge of art can, in going through the galleries, pick out all the famous pictures without the aid of a guide. And the same is true to a still greater extent of the buildings. In going down the Lung'arno there was in one of the blocks only one building that we could see, and that a very plain three-story dwelling house; a double house, as we call it, meaning that the door is in the centre, with windows on each side. It was broad and roomy and comfortable, with very little attempt at show, but with something about it that made it stand out prominently in spite of itself.
    The stone framework that surrounded the massive door was solid and graceful, with exactly enough ornamentation, and not a line too much, and the same was true of every one of the broad windows, of which there were two on each side of the door, and five in each of the upper stories. It was not as large as some of the other buildings in the block, and not nearly as showy; but it was so beautifully proportioned, so quiet and self-satisfied, that it instantly commanded attention.

    "What a beautiful house," somebody said.
    Cabby reined in his horse and turned his head.
    "That is the Palazzo Toscanelli," said he, "in which Lord Byron lived for some time."

    This sudden unearthing of a palace warranted a reference to the guide book, and there we saw that the rare old house came by its beauty honestly, for it was designed by Michael Angelo. Any American who contemplates a town hose of fifty or sixty feet frontage will do himself a favor by studying the artistic lines of the Palazzo Toscanelli in this town.

    The city must always have lain chiefly along the river banks; but the buildings of the Lung'arno are more modern than those further back, so they probably stand on the older ones that have been removed. The Lung'arno does not look more than a hundred or a hundred and fifty years old; but go back two blocks and you step instantly into the Middle Ages. Solid dark houses in rough and narrow streets, everything so sombre that it would make you shiver if it were not for the great names connected with some of the old buildings.

The Four Monuments.

    About three blocks back from the river we came suddenly upon a great open space, green with grass, much like the open plain in front of the railway station, except that in the middle of this vast field stand the "four monuments" of Pisa--the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, the Baptistry, and the Cemetary. Great are the Pisans yet for their good sense in keeping the usual assortment of cafés, shops, and tourist hotels well back from this wonderful collection of buildings, leaving them to stand alone where they can be seen and admired. The four do not even encroach upon one another, but stand wide apart, with broad stretches of smooth, clean grass between. I suspect that this big piece of land belongs to the Church, and that the priests rather than the Pisans in general must have the credit for keeping it open. There are no fences in the way; you can walk right up to any of the buildings and rub your hand against it to make sure that it is really there.
    Those things you read about in your early days, particularly in school, must always be the favored sights to see abroad. The Leaning Tower has always been a hazy thing, made partially real by a regiment of pictures. Here it is in real stone; I touch it and it feels gritty; and to-morrow it will be a dream.

    The Leaning Tower is not one ot the sights to disappoint a traveler. It is larger than we are led to believe, higher, leans more, and is clean and in good repair. It would be worth seeing even it it stood up straight.
    So far from being denied admission, we were hardly out of the carriage before the guardian emerged and made propositions in what he no doubt considered to be the English language.

    "You veesh to ascend ze towaire? Eet ees ze ouairre past, but I veel conduct your party to ze belfry for von franc."

    That is a weak effort at imitating the Italian peasant's ventures in English, sounding more like a bewildered Frenchman; but it will perhaps give some idea of the man's use of our language. These fellows increase their earnings with a little knowledge of English; and what terrible struggles they must have!
    The offer was promptly declined on the ground that the beauty of a tower is in its exterior, not within; and if that was not good argument it was at least a sufficient excuse for refusing to climb eight sets of stairs that slant uncomfortably. It did not, of course, interfere with the guardian's collection of his fee, for why should these millionaires escape unbled? He showed us everything that we would look at down stairs, and after receiving his franc begged for a little more...

The Tower and Its Area.

    The Tower stands in a broad well about eight feet deep; or in other words is surrounded by what we call in New York an area. The diameter of the structure being fifty feet, they first dug a hole eight feet deep and about seventy feet in diameter, and walled it up, and laid the foundation of the Tower in the middle of that hole, thus leaving an open space of ten feet all around it.
    The Tower is composed of eight stories, as you have doubtless read a thousand times, and each story is surrounded by a separate set of handsome columns connected by semicircular arches, so that what you see mostly of the Tower is eight stories of graceful columns. In the basement story the arches are built up solid, but all the others are open.

    The slant of the Tower is toward the town; and when you stand on that side of the area wall, the top of the Tower projects over your head, and it is impossible to avoid the feeling that after its seven hundred years of stability it might suddenly change its mind and fall just at the wrong moment. If you stood three feet further out than the area wall the summit would still be over your head, for it is thirteen feet out of the perpendicular.
    As it is 178 feet high, the average height of the eight stories must be about 22 feet, but they do not look more than eight or ten. It is quite useless, as you look up, to try to reason yourself out of the feeling that the Tower might fall. You know it will not fall, but still you feel more comfortable around on the other side.

    Standing there on the edge of the outer wall, and looking down into the area, the wonder is not what makes the Tower slant, but that there could possibly be any doubt or discussion about it. No musty roll of parchment is needed to tell you the history of this remarkable slant; the tower tells its own story. Look down and you see that below the basement arches is a foundation of stone, tier upon tier, standing straight before your eyes on three sides, but not on the fourth, because on the fourth side the foundation has sunk into the ground, leaving the arches to rise directly from the earth. That is substantial proof that the structure was designed to be straight, but on one side settled into the ground.

Bound Together with Rods.

    But that is not nearly the whole of the Tower's story. It tells in its own record of stone that it was about half built when it sunk on one side. When four of the stories were completed the slant was so great that the builders were afraid of it, and the courses of stone already laid they bound together with iron rods, to prevent slipping. Then for the next two or three stories they made the pillars so much longer on the sunken side than on the other that the difference in length can be seen plainly from the ground. This was of course partially to strengthen the Tower and restore its equilibrium--to keep the centre of gravity within the base, as the mathematicians say.
    It was in 1174 that the work was begun, but there were no lightning contractors or steam paddys in those days. The eighth story was not finished until 1350, so the tower was nearly two centuries in building. By an easy calculation I find that the cost of it would have built and stocked six big factories in this town...

    They might have put the bells on top of the Cathedral or the Baptistry and saved their money, but they thought differently, and it was their own affair. But look at their wonderful perseverance. With the building begun in 1174 and finished in 1350, they were looking forward, successive generations of them, to the day when the bells should ring, and the bells were cast about 1260, or when the work was a century old and a century from being finished. There are seven of them, the largest one alone weighing six tons.
    We think of Troy, usually, as the birthplace of church bells. But here was Pisa, a thousand years before Hendrick Hudson sailed up his namesake river, reknowned all over the inhabited world for its manufacture of big bells. Yes, nearly two thousand years before, for Pisa was a city long before the foundation of the original Troy, 1,600 years before Christ. Pisa was nearly two thousand years old when the Saviour was on earth, and if I may judge from appearances, I think some of the original buildings are still standing.

Rivalry in Monuments.

    With all the iron bars and lengthened columns, the builders were cautious about putting the heavy bells on top of the Leaning Tower. The big six-tonner they put on the high side, trusting only the lightweights on the lower side. The fourth bell, which for some centuries was tolled whenever a criminal was led out for execution, is named the Pasquareccia. The others all have names, but I do not know them.

    The custodian of the Cathedral came over while we were looking at the Tower, for fear we might wander away before he had secured the proper token of appreciation from us. He, too, spoke a few words of English, and he assured us as well as he could that the Leaning Tower was nothing whatevaire, compared with the great "monument" that he had charge of.
    "Oh, ze m'sieu must see ze great tableaus." (The old imposter had somewhere learned the French word tableau, meaning picture, and evidently mistook it for English.) "Ze greatest tableaus in the world, m'sieu."

    Accepting his assurance that ze greatest tableaus in the world could all be seen for 1 franc... we followed him across the grass to the Chathedral, which is quite as much of a mechanical wonder as the tower, for I do not believe there is a straight line in the whole thing from one end to the other. One needs at least a half hour of training under the Leaning Tower before he can go into the cathedral with any comfort. The walls bulge, the façade overhangs the steps, and the whole building looks as if it might collapse at any moment.
    It is built of white and colored marbles, and must have been one of the architectural beauties of the world when it was in its prime. They had a great fire in it the other day (that is to say, in 1596,) which destroyed the dome and part of the roof, and damaged a lot of the furniture. Such at least is the guardian's story. I should not have believed that a few plumbers at work on a stone roof could set fire to it and burn it, if the same fire had not burned up the big bronze doors...

Galileo's Pendulum.

    The first thing inside that the guardian showed us was the big lamp hanging from the ceiling of the nave--or rather, the first thing he tried to show us; for the shades of night were falling and there was not enough light inside to see anything distinctly. A few lamps were burning, to be sure, but in that great building we could hardly have found them without groping about with a lantern. The particular lamp that he most wanted us to see showed no lights whatever, and as it hangs at a dizzy height in midair, lighting it must be difficult work.

    He began telling us about this great Man of Galilee, as I thought, and jumbled himself up in such a tangle of Italian, French and English that I gave him up in despair. But suddenly it dawned upon me that the word he was struggling with was Galileo, not Galilee. And that explained his story.
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    Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the city-states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II.
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    He who has ventured into the Fifth Reader, or into a book of Italian travels, or into a guide book of any period, is familiar with the touching story of how Galileo stood in this Cathedral of Pisa one day, and, instead of giving his attention to the service, as he ought, watched the great lamp swinging to and fro, and from that got the idea of the pendulum. And here was the same church, with the same lamp hanging in the same place, and not swinging in the least, though they call it the father of all pendulums.

    There may be something more in that Galileo lamp than a mere chandelier of metal swung from a ceiling. Perhaps it is an inspirer of great ideas. It was while standing under it, at any rate, deploring the darkness that made it impossible to see more of the handsome Cathedral, and impossible to see anything at all of the Bapistry or the celebrated Campo Santo, and deploring the necessity of leaving Pisa without seeing a dozen more things that seemed worthy of investigation, that the great idea was suggested, "Is there any necessity about it? Is it really necessary for us to reach Rome early to-morrow morning, just as the gladiators are going out to their daily toil? Are there not hotels in Pisa, and is not a bad hotel better than a European sleeping car?"
    Then there came that dreadful argument that costs most European travelers so much time and money:
    "We shall never see this place again, probably."
    That little phrase costs traveling Americans a great many millions every year. We shall never see this place again. Therefore, we must see it thoroughly this time. And here we are only a few minutes' ride from Leghorn; only an hour or two from Florence. Would it not be almost criminal to pass those places by?

    Yes, Rome must have patience, and wait another day for us. The only necessity in the matter is the necessity of going back to the railway, for dinner has been ordered there in the station restaurant. Do not say that no good thing can come out of a railway eating house till you have spent an evening in the big station restaurant in Pisa.

TIME Magazine, July 6, 1953, p. 78:

BUSINESS ABROAD: Fiat into Spain
    Turin, Italy's fourth largest city, is the capital of Italian industry. It is also the biggest company town in the world, dominated by a single colossus world-famed for its name: Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino). Almost two-thirds of Turin's 735,000 people owe their livelihood to Fiat; off the assembly lines of its 15 plants roll 90% of Italy's cars. But automaking is only the core of Fiat's industrial empire. A visitor to Turin rides to a Fiat-owned hotel in a Fiat taxi, drinks Fiat's Cinzano vermouth, shops at a Fiat drugstore, leaves for Milan over the Fiat-controlled autostrada (toll road).
    Last week, Fiat grew a bit more. In Barcelona, a Fiat-controlled, Spanish-financed company named Seat began making Fiat cars in the hope of turning out 200 a month to sell at 150,000 pesetas ($3,750). The only sizable automaker in Spain, Fiat will have the Spanish car market virtually sewed up, since no other automaker can afford Spain's 40% excise taxes, from which Seat will eventually be exempt. Fiat also landed a $22.5 million U.S. Air Force contract to assemble F-86 Sabre jets under 10-year license from North American Aviation Inc., the first such order placed on the Continent.

    "Will and Creation." Fiat, whose name Soldier-Poet Gabriele D'Annunzio once defined as the "word of will and creation," is a vertical trust which, through a holding company named I.F.I. (for Istituto Finanziario Italiano), controls a good cross section of Italy's economy. Among its holdings are insurance, buses, airlines, hotels, and cement, paint and steel plants. Abroad, in six countries from Sweden to India, Fiat plants turn out goods sold in 80 countries.
    Fiat was created by the iron will of a flinty ex-cavalry officer named Giovanni Agnelli, who helped found the company in 1899. Agnelli made Fiat's red racing cars famous at international meets, sometimes driving them himself. Born with a passion work, Agnelli early saw the advantages of mass production and integration and began acquiring suppliers and outlets for his cars. So shrewdly did he choose that by 1927, when I.F.I. was formed to hold Fiat's investments (and solidify his control), he owned a diversified slice of the Italian economy. For such accomplishments and for Agnelli's financial help in the March on Rome, an admiring Mussolini made him a lifetime Senator. He also cooperated by placing staggering duties on imported cars.
    With such help, Agnelli continued to expand Fiat in the '30s, entered World War II with the huge, new Fiat-Mirafiori auto plant. As one of Italy's biggest armament makers, Fiat was soon turning out everything from trucks to airplanes to machine guns.

    Red & Black. Fiat plants were bombed repeatedly, with losses running to an estimated $40 million. When Agnelli died in 1945, it looked as if Fiat might never recover. But it was able to rebuild with the help of $46 million in U.S. loans. Then the Fiat union, a member of Communist-controlled C.G.I.L. (Confederazione Generale Italiana di Lavoro), formed "councils of management" to run the plants, virtually took over. The councils soon found the job to tough to handle, and gradually they were forced to let brilliant, little (5 ft. 1 in.) Professor Vittorio Valletta, who had succeeded Agnelli, take charge.
    Valletta, a self-made man whose constant traveling and shrewd bargaining made him Fiat's best salesman, quickly got things humming again. By last week, Fiat was turning out 500 cars a day, twice its prewar peak, and its huge iron & steel works, including the biggest cold-rolling mill on the Continent, had doubled its capacity. Last year Fiat reported a $4,000,000 net on $320,000,000 sales.
    Communists are still powerful, but membership in the C.G.I.L. has dropped from 82% to 65% since 1949. Though this still large membership in the Communist union worries U.S. military men, it does not worry Valletta. The big C.G.I.L. membership, he points out, does not mean that all are Communists, but merely that workers have chosen the largest, oldest and strongest union in Italy. Says Valletta: "If I were a worker, it's the one I would belong to myself."

    Mice & Monopoly. As an automaker, Fiat specializes in small, low-horsepower models that can negotiate Europe's twisting roads and give good mileage on its expensive gasoline. Most Italians, however, find them too high-priced, complain that Fiat could afford to cut prices. They cite the fact that in Paris, where there is competition, the new Fiat "1100" sells for $235 less than in Italy. Even the Italians who can afford Fiat's two bestselling cars, the Topolino ("Little Mouse") at $1,146, and the "1100" at $1,608, must be prepared to put down a $320 deposit and wait eight months for delivery.

    Grip of Iron. So important is Fiat to the Italian economy that the government would hardly make a major economic decision without considering its effects on Fiat. In addition to the 117,000 cars, trucks and buses it turned out last year, Fiat made two-thirds of Italy's tractors, three-quarters of its refrigerators, and much of its diesel and railroad equipment. It has helped reconstruct Italy in other ways. After the war, Fiat kept more men on its payrolls than were needed, and only recently has had work for them all. Explains Valletta: "If we had discharged all the people we didn't need, the result might have been a revolution."
    Such immense power has bothered more than one monopoly-hating American charged with helping rebuild Italy's economy for NATO defense. But most of them have come to accept Fiat's position. As one of Italy's economists has pointed out, no Italian government, however strong, would ever be able to withstand the collapse of Fiat. Said he: "No matter how badly things were to go with Fiat, the government would be obliged... to keep [it] going, even if this meant making refrigerators as Christmas presents to the Eskimos."

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