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Path of Knowledge for the Assessment of Structural Safety of the Pisan Tower of the Royal Palace of Palermo in Italy


This paper presents the path of knowledge developed for assessing the structural safety of the Norman-age Pisan Tower, which is mostly incorporated into the Royal Palace in Palermo, Italy. Historical, geomatic, and mechanical investigations were conducted and the most relevant results are herein collected and presented. The research path was addressed to specific tasks: identification of the building, geometric surveys, recognition of the sequence of phases of building transformation, detection of the components of the load-bearing structure, structural diagnostic surveys, and investigation of the subsoil and foundations. The explicit vulnerabilities found were mostly confined to the Piazzi library floor, while implicit vulnerabilities were identified in the presence of false walls and in high loads and fillings on the vaults of the last levels. The results of the analyses allowed the individuation of the confidence factors to use in structural analysis models aimed at the assessment of the seismic safety of the building.