Medieval Tower. Bologna’s Garisenda “leaning” tower, a medieval monument that has charmed poets and travelers over centuries, is under scrutiny for signs of potential subsidence. While it continues to be an enchanting architectural treasure, concerns about its stability have led to the temporary closure of nearby streets.
A Lean Through Time
The 48-meter (158 feet) tower construct in the 12th century during a period when Bologna boasted multiple towers reaching for the sky. With an inclination of four degrees, it leans only slightly less than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This unique structure already tilting during the early 14th century when Dante Alighieri drew inspiration from it for his famous “Inferno,” etching in words the vertiginous feeling of gazing upon the Garisenda’s leaning side.
City mayor Matteo Lepore has taken action to safeguard this architectural gem. He ordered the closure of the area around the twin towers after consultation with the heritage superintendent and a committee of scientists, which has monitoring the structures since 2018.
Monitoring with Precision
Acoustic sensors have strategically placed around the tower to detect any sounds indicating stress or cracks, and a pendulum has install to monitor any movement. A similar pendulum add to the taller Asinelli tower.
A Safe Pedestrian Zone
The street closures are primarily designed to provide a quiet environment for the precise monitoring instruments to collect data. The precautionary measures are not driven by immediate safety concerns.
Safeguarding a Monument
Mayor Lepore sees the Garisenda as a symbol of the city. He expressed a commitment to protect it as a cherished monument and stressed that they are taking every necessary step to ensure its preservation.
The Path Forward
The mayor confirmed that the Garisenda has been leaning for centuries and has undergone various interventions over the years. A report due in November expedite, and the council has selected a company, with experience from Genoa’s Morandi Bridge project, to carry out any required work. A council-led committee also be establish for the restoration effort.
The Garisenda’s Future
The road closures are expected to last until Friday. However, there is speculation that buses may never return to circulate around the towers. The fate of the leaning tower, steeped in history and poetry, remains uncertain but protected by a dedicated community that aims to secure its future.
The concern over the tower’s safety was initially raised by Lucia Borgonzoni, a representative of Italy’s ministry of culture. A member of the right-wing Northern League, Borgonzoni previously ran for mayor of Bologna and president of the Emilia-Romagna region, leading to some political tension in the handling of the tower’s situation.
A Calm Approach
Mayor Lepore has opted not to engage in a political debate over the matter but remains committed to ensuring the Garisenda’s continued presence as a symbol of the city. His actions are guided by a sense of responsibility and an institutional commitment to protect this iconic treasure.
The Garisenda, a tower that has endured centuries of lean, is poised to face its future with a modern approach to safeguarding its historical significance.