Garisenda Tower is the shorter of Bologna's two medieval skyscrapers, Source: Depositphotos

Bologna shuts access to one of its iconic landmarks due to safety concerns

Bologna shuts access to one of its iconic landmarks due to safety concerns

The Garisenda Tower is the lower of the two and it rises 48 metres high

This past weekend, authorities in Bologna sealed off access to the medieval Garisenda Tower and the streets around it citing safety concerns in the heritage structure. Garisenda Tower features prominently in the skyline of the city, together with its ‘twin tower’ – Torre degli Asinelli.

Reportedly, sensors in the ancient tower sounded the alarm that there was an increasing amount of “worrying” movement.

Bologna’s mayor, Matteo Lepore, however calmed the public by telling journalists that there was no risk of imminent collapse of the building and thus the public was not in danger.

The tower has always swayed and leaned since it was built," he added, as quoted by Wanted in Rome.

The mayor was adamant that since the tower was one of the major symbols of the city, his administration would do everything to “safeguard” it. That could include a ban on traffic circulation near the towers.

Still, there was criticism levied at the local government on part Lucia Borgonzoni, the Italian cultural undersecretary, in whose opinion the Bologna City Hall has underestimated the situation. She added that 5 million euros have been set aside from the Recovery Plan to beef up the tower’s foundations.

What’s the story of the two towers?

Both towers date back to the early 12th century when they were built as a display of wealth and power by two of the city’s patrician families. In a way, it was the ambition of trying to outdo each other that spurred the creation of the medieval “skyscrapers”.

Torre della Garisenda rises 48 metres high, but initially it was even taller – at 60 metres. However, its height was reduced in the 14th century due to unstable ground underneath it. But even at its original height it was dwarfed by the Asinelli Tower, which reaches 90 metres.



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