December 06, 2023 – In a distressing development, Garisenda, the iconic leaning tower of Bologna, Italy, is facing an imminent collapse, prompting authorities to take swift action. The medieval tower, known for its characteristic tilt, has been closed off due to safety concerns arising from its excessive leaning. Standing at 150 ft, this thousand-year-old structure has been inclining at a four-degree angle since the 14th century, a notch below the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Historic Duo: Garisenda and Asinelli Towers
Situated in the heart of Bologna, the Garisenda and Asinelli towers have stood as symbols of the city’s rich history for centuries, gracing the skyline with their medieval charm. Initially constructed for military purposes such as defense and signaling during the Middle Ages, the Asinelli Tower, soaring at approximately 97 meters, was erected by the Asinelli family between 1109 and 1119. Boasting 498 internal steps leading to breathtaking city views, it has remained an architectural gem.
Built around the same era, the Garisenda Tower, although shorter at 47 meters, shares a similar historical significance. Its reduced height was a precautionary measure taken during the 14th century to prevent potential collapse, giving rise to its moniker, the ‘leaning tower.’
The Leaning Predicament
Garisenda Tower has endured its leaning status for centuries, with various attempts at restoration undertaken over the years. However, the gradual tilt has now reached a critical juncture, forcing authorities to seal off the iconic landmark. Initial closure in October followed inspections revealing structural decay in the tower’s base materials, heightening the risk of a potential collapse.
Protective Measures Underway
In response to the alarming situation, a comprehensive action plan has been initiated. A towering 16-ft metal barrier will encircle the endangered tower to minimize potential damage to adjacent structures and contain debris in the event of a collapse. The city council emphasized the protective cordon’s role in reducing vulnerability to surrounding buildings and safeguarding the populace while restricting access to restricted areas.
The committee overseeing the tower’s condition issued warnings based on sensor readings, citing potential cracks and unexpected compressions in the base. As Bologna endeavors to navigate this perilous situation, the implementation of safety measures aims to preserve historical heritage while ensuring public safety.