Italy’s leaning Garisenda Tower in Bologna at risk of collapse, experts warn

Safety experts raise alarm over Bologna tower.

The landmark Garisenda Tower in the north Italian city of Bologna is at high risk of collapse, experts warned on Wednesday, weeks after the mediaeval structure was sealed off over safety concerns.

The smaller of Bologna’s leaning “twin towers”, the 48-m high Torre della Garisenda stands alongside the 97-m Torre degli Asinelli, both of which date to the early 12th century.

The technical committee tasked with monitoring the structural integrity of the tower described the situation as “code red” and “maximum alert”, reports Corriere della Sera newspaper.

In their report presented to city authorities, the experts said the likelihood of the tower collapsing are “unacceptably high, more than 10,000 times higher than what is typically allowed by the regulations”, according to Italian media.

In a statement issued by city hall, Bologna mayor Matteo Lepore said the report will be studied “in depth with the technicians in the coming days”, promising an update on the situation on 20 November.

Lepore, however, said the report did not appear to offer any “precise indications” on how to intervene in terms of the tower’s “structural consolidation and restoration”.

Initially standing at 60 metres, the tower was lowered to its current height in the 14th century after the ground below gave way, prompting fears for its collapse.

The Garisenda Tower was cited by Dante in The Divine Comedy, by Goethe in Italian Journey, and by Dickens in Pictures from Italy.