Towers of Bologna

Bologna, Italy
Kirker Holidays

The medieval Towers of Bologna are a key feature of the city. The reason for the construction of so many of these structures remains unclear. A strong hypothesis is that the wealthiest families used them for offensive and defensive purposes during the period of the Investiture Controversy in the late 11th and early 12th century, as well as representing the social prestige of these families. Whilst many have since been demolished or simply collapsed, 21 remain, with the two most prominent being the Asinelli and the Garisenda Towers that serve as symbols of Bologna.

Known as the Two Towers, these adjacent leaning structures are located in the heart of the city at the intersection of the roads that lead to the five gates of the old ring wall. The Asinelli is the taller one measuring 97.2 metres whilst the smaller tower with the greater lean is the Garisenda, at a height of 48 metres and an overhang of 3.2 metres. Their names originate from the families associated with their construction between 1109-1119. During the 14th century, an aerial footbridge connected these structures but was destroyed in a 1398 fire.

The Garisenda Tower has been sealed off since October 2023 following fears that the structure is tilting too far and could collapse. Work to prevent this collapse is expected to take at least 10 years.

Whilst the Two Towers are closed to the public for restoration, access to the Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio) is included in the 72-hour Bologna Welcome Card, provided to all Kirker clients visiting the city. Following a climb up a narrow wooden staircase, you are rewarded with spectacular views over the city from its panoramic terraces.

The Clock Tower is open 10:00-18:20 until October 27th 2024 and 10:00-17:20 from October 28th to February 28th 2025.


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