Italian officials secure 12th Century leaning tower in Bologna to prevent collapse

by Madison Thomas
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Italian authorities have taken measures to safeguard one of the iconic 12th Century towers in Bologna, as concerns grew over its leaning structure potentially leading to a collapse.

The city recently announced a budget of 4.3 million euros ($4.7 million) dedicated to the preservation efforts for the Garisenda tower, one of the renowned Two Towers that have stood as symbols of northern Bologna. These towers have been a source of inspiration for artists and poets throughout the centuries, serving as lookout points during historical conflicts. The restoration work is scheduled to take place during the months of January and February.

Italy’s civil protection agency has maintained a yellow alert status for the site, signifying caution but not immediate danger.

The Garisenda tower, the smaller of the two towers constructed between 1109 and 1119, currently stands at a height of 48 meters (157 feet), in contrast to the Asinelli tower, which reaches a towering 97 meters (320 feet). Mayor Matteo Lepore pointed out in a recent debate that the Garisenda tower has displayed a leaning inclination since its inception and has been a matter of concern throughout its history. Moreover, during the medieval era, structural damage occurred due to the installation of ironwork and bakery ovens within the tower.

“We have inherited a situation that has plagued us over the centuries,” the mayor remarked. He has formally requested that the government seek UNESCO world heritage status for these towers.

Efforts to reinforce both towers have been underway since the 1990s. Initial steps for the Garisenda tower restoration project include establishing a containment area to prevent potential damage to nearby structures or harm to pedestrians in the event of a possible collapse. Additionally, video surveillance cameras will be installed to monitor the site continuously.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Preservation

What is the significance of the Garisenda tower in Bologna?

The Garisenda tower, along with its counterpart, the Asinelli tower, holds immense historical and cultural significance for Bologna. They have inspired artists and poets over the centuries and served as lookout points during conflicts.

Why is there concern about the Garisenda tower’s leaning structure?

The Garisenda tower has been leaning since its construction, and this leaning has been a continuous concern. Additionally, historical modifications, such as the installation of ironwork and bakery ovens, have caused additional damage.

What measures are being taken to preserve the Garisenda tower?

To safeguard the Garisenda tower, the city of Bologna has allocated 4.3 million euros for restoration work. This work, scheduled for January and February, includes creating a containment area and installing video surveillance.

Is there an imminent danger of collapse?

While there is concern about the tower’s stability, Italy’s civil protection agency has issued a yellow alert, signifying caution but not immediate danger.

Are there plans to seek UNESCO world heritage status for the Two Towers in Bologna?

Yes, Mayor Matteo Lepore has formally requested that the government petition for UNESCO world heritage status for the Two Towers, including the Garisenda tower, to further recognize their historical importance.

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