Italy's historic leaning tower on verge of collapse — Anytime soon

Italian municipal council describes the situation as "highly critical"

By Web Desk
December 02, 2023
Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa. — AFP/File

Garisenda Tower, a medieval tower in the Italian city of Bologna that leans by the same height as its famous counterpart in Pisa has been closed down due to concerns that it would fall anytime soon.

Authorities have started building a 5m (16ft) high barrier around the 12th-century Garisenda Tower to contain debris if it collapses.

The 47m (154ft) tower tilts at a four-degree inclination, with monitoring revealing fluctuations in the tilt's direction.

The situation was described as "highly critical" by the municipal council.

The Garisenda Tower is one of two skyscrapers that dominate Bologna's skyline. The Asinelli Tower, which is almost twice the height and likewise leans, but not as noticeably, is normally available for tourists to climb.

The buildings were constructed between 1109 and 1119, while the height of the Garisenda was decreased in the 14th century due to leaning. Dante's work "The Divine Comedy", which was written in 1321, mentions the tower.

Garisenda Tower also called Bologna's leaning tower. — AFP/Filef

The site was first closed in October when sensors detected changes in the tilt of the Garisenda and tests found degradation in the components that comprise its base.

The council has created a civil protection plan to safeguard the tower, and the work now underway "represents the first phase of making it safe."

It was stated that the barrier would protect nearby structures and individuals in the event of a collapse in addition to containing debris. It further said that metal rockfall nets will be erected around the tower.

The barrier's construction will be completed early next year, but the tower and plaza underneath it are scheduled to stay closed for several years while restoration work is done.

The city believes that the barrier alone would cost €4.3 million (£3.7 million) and has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help pay for the restoration.

The project was described as an "extraordinary challenge," requiring "commitment from the entire city and from those all over the world who love Bologna and one of its most important symbols."