Field of Miracles
This level green lawn is well-named, mainly for the reason that the Leaning Tower is still standing on what 10,000 years ago was a river estuary. The river had dried up by Roman times, but the sandy soil remained, providing a frighteningly unstable platform on which to build the tower, cathedral, and other buildings. Specialists have uncovered traces of Etruscan, Roman, and Lombard settlements throughout the piazza, but no remains of buildings known to have been built there after the Tower went up. Why? Archaeologists long theorized that when Pisans gave the so-called Campo dei Miracoli its final layout, they must have removed up to three feet of topsoil, in part to reveal more of the tower, whose base had sunk beneath the ground surface. Sure enough, some archival sleuth uncovered a centuries-old receipt acknowledging the sale of soil from the field.