The famous Garisenda Tower in the center of Bologna is a symbol of the city. It has been leaning for some time, but there is now a risk that road traffic and other vibrations will further deepen the existing cracks in the tower. The experts who monitor the tower and its movements are now writing in a scientific report to the mayor that they are on “high alert”.

The fading splendor of Bologna’s towers

The fear of the tower collapsing is back. All citizens who live or work within a 100 meter radius of the tower have been registered by the local police. They should be notified and evacuated in the event of fluctuations, reported the mayor of Bologna, Matteo Lepore. At the end of October he decided to close the streets around the “Torre della Garisenda” and the twin Asinelli tower. It’s a hard blow for residents and tourists, as two of Bologna’s most important sights remain closed for the time being.

The two towers rise in the heart of the city at the starting point of the old Via Emilia. They were built in the Middle Ages with a predominantly military function. The smaller Garisenda tower is noticeably crooked. Today it has a height of 48 meters and a slope of 3.20 meters. When construction was completed it was approximately 60 meters high. The taller, also inclined Asinelli Tower measures 97 meters.

Concern in the community

The community wants to examine how vibrations around the two medieval towers can be minimized. Until then they will remain closed to visitors. An iron structure was erected around the Garisenda Tower. The experts don’t fear a collapse, but bricks could come loose and fall down. It is assumed that the area around the towers will remain closed to traffic for a long time.

The shop owners in the area around the towers fear losses. Because it has become unusually quiet around her. No honking, no braking, no traffic jams at the traffic lights: only a few tourists wind their way through via San Vitale and look up at the Garisenda tower. “For us, the closure to traffic is a problem, people have disappeared. If the municipality doesn’t intervene, the streets around the towers will remain empty and the area will die out,” complained the owner of a restaurant not far from the Asinelli Tower. Their hope is that Christmas will bring more life back to the area with lights and Christmas stands. “We are worried about the stability of the tower, but also about our future, because the number of guests has fallen,” she noted.

The Garisenda Tower was dismantled in the 14th century because of a subsidence in the ground that made it dangerously tilted. In the 15th century, the weavers’ guild acquired the tower and kept it until the end of the 19th century. Then it became municipal property. The Garisenda Tower was mentioned by the Italian national poet Dante Alighieri in the 13th century in the Divine Comedy.

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