TODAY

TODAY   |  September 27, 2013

Leaning Tower of Pisa leaning less?

The assumption has been that Pisa’s famous leaning tower is leaning more and more each year, but actually it has been straightening itself on its own since protective work was done a decade ago. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> about one of the world's most iconic building. it's still moving but not in the way you might expect. michelle kosinski is there. good morning.

>> the assumption is always that it's leaning more and more all the time, right? well, about a decade ago major protective work was finished on it and now the tower is actually moving in the other direction, continuing to straighten up on it's own.

>>> oh, for every one of those pictures, the leaning tower , nearly 1,000 year olds still attracts amateur special effects enthusiasts like a dysfunctional magnet. all 300 narrow stairs worn and polished through time to the very top.

>> once you get to about step 100 you start to feel it. you're upright and not falling over but something definitely feels a little off.

>> reporter: but what the tower is not still doing, leaning.

>> really?

>> reporter: at least not actively. in fact, after it's worst period in the 1990s when the beautiful tower was in severe danger of toppling and scientists used cables, soil extraction in a desperate bid to save it, the tower has actually been moving the other way. we went to find the top engineers up several more flights of stairs.

>> so as we speak, the tower is ever so slowly straightening up?

>> yes. yes. more on less two millimeters per year.

>> reporter: in the last decade it gained nearly an inch and would you believe it moves every day. people don't budge it but the sun straightens it even more.

>> sunny days, cloudy day, rainy day .

>> totally awesome.

>> reporter: even impressing these chicago honeymooners.

>> it might be straighter by the time you get to the bottom of it.

>> i'll have to carry you.

>> you guys aren't going to make out or anything are you.

>> leaning or not you'd be happy with it?

>> absolutely. it's a beautiful monument.

>> i like the lean better.

>> this is extremely slight but scientists think it will keep straightening for about the next 100 years and then stabilize for 200 years after that and then will probably start leaning again but don't worry, it will look just like this.

>> there, yeah.

>> all right. [ applause ]

>> we were looking for it michelle.

>> michelle.

>> it looks like a green screen .

>> it does. anybody else kind of sad about the leaning tower of pisa ? the straight standing up tower of pisa doesn't have the strange.

>> we'll be dead.

>> i want it to lean.

>> we're all dying so al, thanks for the happy thought.

>> don't worry about that long range forecast.