Bologna moves to shore up Italy’s other leaning tower

A “yellow” alert is in place for the medieval Garisenda Tower, on the right, that leans at 4 degrees (Dimitris Kamaras/CC BY 2.0 Deed)
The city of Bologna has begun a €4.3m project to prepare for the possible collapse of its famous, leaning Garisenda Tower, completed in 1119.

The 48m-high structure leans at 4 degrees, slightly more than the famous tower in Pisa.

It’s one of two medieval towers commanding downtown Bologna; its companion, the Asinelli Tower, is taller at 97m.

Civil protection authorities have closed the square the towers are on, the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, and have issued a “yellow” alert to the public, indicating a need for heightened attention but not alarm.

The plan is to build a metal containment structure around the leaning tower to stop it falling on people and nearby buildings.

Two companies have been hired to do the work: Fagioli and Modena Engineering.

The city said Fagioli would create a protective belt around the tower to protect surrounding buildings and contain debris from a possible collapse.

The belt will consist of ballasted metal modules anchored to the ground. Metal rockfall protection nets will also be installed.

Modena Engineering will divert underground services and build foundations.

The city expects the most critical sides of the containment structure to be finished by the end of February.

The piazza will stay closed for several years until a permanent restoration of the tower can be completed.

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