Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Tuesday morning we departed for Florence with an afternoon stop in Pisa. We began the day with a wonderful lecture from Professor Villiagio at the University of Pisa. Professor Villiagio spoke about the various construction techniques of archways which are very popular throughout Italy. In addition he spoke about a very interesting technique use in design to help manage seismic activity and prevent the destruction of the infrastructure. A technique he described involved placing a damping layer of rocks underneath buildings which absorbed some of the shaking during earthquakes and prevented substantial destruction. After our lecture we headed over to tour the Tower of Pisa and the cathedral. We got a chance to walk up the Tower of Pisa which gave us a awesome view of the surrounding towns and mountains. The technology that has been implemented to preserve this tower is truly unbelievable. The tower is 180 feet in height and has a tilt angle of approximately 4 degrees which calculates to a 13 foot deflection of the building at its uppermost point. Without the work of architects and engineers through Italy the structure may have been destroyed. As we wrap up our bus ride to Florence with cars flying and mountains of Carerra marble off in the distance we have another day in the books of our wonderful adventure. We look forward to sharing much more and hopefully getting some pictures up as soon as possible.