HomeTravelItaly’s other leaning tower is in danger of toppling, say authorities

Italy’s other leaning tower is in danger of toppling, say authorities


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Italy’s other leaning tower, Torre Garisenda, is in danger of collapse, says Bologna’s mayor. Photo / Comune Bologna

Fixing this 12th-century colossus will not be a Pisa cake.

A 45m brick tower in Italy — one of Bologna’s top landmarks — has been closed to the public for urgent repairs after fears it could collapse.

The Garisenda Tower in Bologna has been dubbed Italy’s “other leaning tower”, and is just over 100km from Pisa’s famous tower “on the wonk”.

One of two towers dubbed “le due torri di Bologna”, they date back to 1100s Italy and are named for powerful Milanese merchants who built them. While the taller tower at 70m is the most obvious landmark, it is the smaller Garisenda structure that grabbed headlines last week, after authorities said it was in immediate risk of falling over.

While the leaning “torre pendente” in Pisa is a favourite backdrop for selfies for its 3.9-degrees tilt, alarm was sounded in Bologna after it was noticed Garisenda was tilting past 4 degrees and slowly subsiding further.

It’s now officially Italy’s wonkiest tower and at “high risk” of falling over.

In October, streets in central Bologna were cordoned off after conservators noticed cracks in the 915-year-old brick obelisk.

Now, in a race to save Bologna’s beloved leaning tower, Mayor Matteo Lepore says it has turned to Pisa for help.

Last Wednesday the mayor’s office said it was borrowing equipment previously used to reinforce the Leaning Tower.

“This will make it possible to secure the tower,” Lepore said.

Bologna says it will spend $33 million on leasing scaffold from the Tower of Pisa, to save its leaning towers. Photo / Comune Bologna

The loan of the specialist scaffolding is reported to cost $33 million.

“Once the steel scaffolding already used in Pisa are installed, the Torre Garisenda will go from the yellow phase [of relative danger] to the green phase”

Once this green phase had been reached, the Asinelli Tower could be reopened to the public. At only 1.3 degrees lean, the taller tower was considered a far lower risk. However, this was likely to take up to two years.

“In 2025 and 2026, there will be further consolidation and restoration work, which still needs to be planned,” Lepore said.

It’s the most perilous period for the two brick towers since 1943, when bombing raids during the World War II almost struck the piazza.

The 498 steps of Torre degli Asinelli. Photo / Emilia Bologna, CC
The 498 steps of Torre degli Asinelli. Photo / Emilia Bologna, CC

Climbing the 498 steps to the top of the Asinelli is one of the most popular attractions in the north Italian city, taking up to 25 tourists at a time for €5 ($9) each.

The ticketing website warns tourists the towers are closed for maintenance, but offers a virtual tour of the clock tower.

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