Restorers have returned the Leaning Tower of Pisa to its former glory after an eight-year restoration project in which they cleaned and partially straightened it.
Workers have been using chisels and hi-tech laser technology to scrub grime from the more than 24,000 blocks of stone on the 183ft tall tower.
The world famous monument has also had its famous lean partially corrected after engineers managed to straighten it by 18 inches from the vertical, returning it to its 1838 position.
"The stones have been in an appalling state, mainly due to air pollution, though tourists and pigeons played a part," explained Anton Sutter, the Swiss-born leader of the 30 million dollar restoration effort.
Sea salt has also been badly damaged the tower —Pisa was once on the coast and became a powerful maritime republic until its harbor silted up.
Now that workers have been completing the restoration, the scaffolding that has surrounded the campanile will be pulled down by a team of mountaineers with knowledge of ropes and climbing.
Tourists have been returning to see the tower, climb the stairs and admire the view.
Staff have restricted the number of visitors per day to slow down the wear and tear on the tower.
The guides for the tower have been offering a video tour as an alternative way to explore the tower without climbing its 296 steps.
"The tower was near collapse, but we managed to stop the tilt and secure it. It's now out of risk for at least the next 200 years," said Giuseppe Bentivoglio, from the Opera Primaziale organization that preserves the tower.
Adapted from — Squires, Nick. "The Slightly Less Leaning Tower of Pisa." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 11 Apr. 0050. Web. 02 Jan. 2014.