Why is the tower in Bologna leaning?

Bologna, a city in Italy, is renowned for its rich history and architectural marvels. Among these, the Two Towers (Le due torri) stand out as symbols of the city’s medieval past. These towers, both leaning, have been the subject of much discussion and concern due to their precarious tilt. This article delves into the history of these towers, the reasons behind their lean, and the efforts being made to preserve them.

The Two Towers: A Glimpse into Bologna’s Past
The Two Towers, known as the Garisenda and Asinelli towers, are located in the heart of Bologna. They were constructed during the Middle Ages, serving both military and symbolic purposes. The towers signaled impending threats and represented the social prestige of the families that commissioned them.

The Asinelli Tower, built between 1109 and 1119, was handed over to the Municipality in the following century. With 498 internal steps leading to the top, it offers a panoramic view of the city from a height of 97.02 meters. The Garisenda Tower, built around the same time, is shorter but is known for its significant overhang.

The Leaning Towers: A Matter of Geology
The Garisenda Tower leans at an angle of 4 degrees, slightly less than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa’s 5 degrees. This lean is believed to have originated from ground subsidence during the 14th century. The top 32 feet of the Garisenda Tower were removed in an attempt to stabilize it, but the tower has continued to lean since then.

Preservation Efforts: A Race Against Time
Recently, the Garisenda Tower has been the subject of much concern due to an anomalous increase in its oscillation. In response, the local authorities have decided to close off the surrounding square for a few years to ensure public safety and carry out necessary restoration work. A protective metal cordon is being erected to contain debris in the event of a collapse and reduce the vulnerability of surrounding buildings.

The preservation of these towers is not just about maintaining a city landmark; it’s about preserving a piece of Bologna’s history and cultural heritage. As the city braces for the potential collapse of the Garisenda Tower, the efforts to save it underscore the importance of architectural preservation in maintaining a connection to our past.

Why are the towers in Bologna leaning?
The lean of the towers in Bologna, particularly the Garisenda Tower, is believed to be due to ground subsidence during the 14th century.

What are the Two Towers in Bologna?
The Two Towers in Bologna are the Garisenda and Asinelli towers. They were built during the Middle Ages and are recognized as symbols of the city.

What is being done to preserve the leaning towers in Bologna?
The local authorities have closed off the area surrounding the Garisenda Tower and are carrying out restoration work. A protective metal cordon is being erected to contain debris in the event of a collapse.

Ground Subsidence: The sinking or downward settling of the ground’s surface. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, including the removal of underground water, oil, gas, or minerals.
Oscillation: In the context of buildings, oscillation refers to the swaying motion that can occur due to factors like wind or seismic activity.
Protective Metal Cordon: A barrier or fence made of metal, erected to protect surrounding areas from potential damage.