Another of Italy's 'Leaning' Towers May Be in Trouble

Garisenda Tower in Bologna, Italy, is now at 'great risk of falling,' city officials say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2023 8:30 AM CST
Officials: Leaning Tower in Italy Is Now on 'High Alert'
Stock photo of Bologna's Garisenda tower, left, which is the tower in trouble, next to the taller Asinelli tower.   (Getty Images/pespiero)

There's been no dire update of late on the Leaning Tower of Pisa's vertical challenges, so we're guessing it's still standing strong, but one of Italy's other leaning towers seems to now be in a more precarious position than it was just over a month ago. In late October, the northern Italian city of Bologna closed down the 150-foot-tall Garisenda Tower, built in the 12th century, due to its 4-degree lean (for context, the tower in Pisa at one point boasted a 5.5-degree tilt, before work to straighten it). At the time, Bologna officials insisted that the Garisenda closure wasn't out of any imminent safety concerns, but a lot appears to have changed in just a few weeks.

"A new report by experts states the tower is at great risk of falling, so we need to be ready for every eventuality," a city spokesman tells the London Times. The report, seen by CNN Travel, puts the site on "high alert" over a possible collapse. Those who examined the southward-leaning structure say they've discovered more and more cracks in the building's bricks, as well as stones that look to be disintegrating. The paper notes that vibrations from nearby traffic, as well as a storm and subsequent flooding earlier this year, may have weakened the tower's foundations and worsened the situation.

The Garisenda Tower is right next to the Asinelli Tower, which CNN notes is twice the Garisenda's height but not at the same risk level right now in terms of its own leaning. The Asinelli will also close during the multiyear project involving the Garisenda. As for a potential Garisenda collapse, the city says it's erecting a 16-foot-tall barrier around the tower made up of 8.5-foot-thick pieces that the Times compares to large Lego bricks. Officials say the barrier should hopefully be strong enough to protect other buildings, vehicles, and people from falling debris in the event of a collapse. (More leaning tower stories.)

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