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Italy’s Leaning Tower Might Lean Too Far

The Garisenda Tower of Bologna, Italy has stood at an angle since the 12th century, however, this historical landmark may be counting its final days. According to inspections done by the city, a civil protection plan has been enacted for the sudden collapse of the tower.


 


Local authorities will be closing off areas surrounding the tower to limit damage to the area around it. The city council stated that the purpose of the protective barriers was to “contain debris resulting from a possible collapse, to reduce the vulnerability of surrounding buildings and the exposure to the population, as well as blocking access to the off-limits area,”. 


 


The tower has been placed under “high alert” as monitoring over the past month shows signs of an accelerated compression at the tower’s base with the stone base gradually disintegrating over time. However, the committee monitoring the tower claims that collapse is not an imminent threat and that if it were, evacuation would be necessary.


 


At around 48 metres, the Garisenda Tower is one of two famous towers in Bologna, the other being Asinelli which is about twice its height, around 97 metres, and lacks a dramatic lean. The tower leans at an angle of 4°, a little more upright in comparison to the 5° of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Garisenda was estimated to have been built between 1109 and 1119, however, it was lowered from its original height in the 14th century after concerns about its dangerous lean. 


 


The towers were built during a time when local families were competing with each other to build the tallest towers, although today, very few of those buildings have lasted. Many were cut in half and turned into regular houses while others have collapsed over time. The Garisenda Tower was also mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, as the tower was infamous for its tilt in the early 14th century, around the time the book was written.


 


The tower was closed last October after sensors picked up a change in its tilt and when inspected, found severe deterioration in its base. City council says that the construction for the protective barrier around the towers will be finished early next year and that the tower and its plaza will be closed indefinitely.


 


The Garisenda Tower was also a popular tourist attraction as people from around the world were invited to climb up the tower and enjoy the scenic view of the surrounding landscape. Tourism and visitations to the tower may return after restoration work is completed on the tower, however, no set date was given for when this would be accomplished. 


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Tags: #italy #history #architecture #dante #the garisenda tower #the asinelli tower #ancient history #bologna italy #dante alighieri



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