Photography: Lisavit / Wikipedia

The leaning figure of the Garisenda tower has presided over Bologna since the 12th century, and the city’s mayor, Matteo Lepore, has announced a €20m, 10-year-long preservation plan to ensure it will continue for centuries more.

Garisenda tower is known as the ‘Leaning Tower of Bologna‘. It is one of two towers in the city’s centre, built by the rivalling Garisenda and the Asinelli families between 1109 and 1119.

The shorter of the two medieval structures, Garisenda rises 48 metres in height and leans at a 4-degree angle due to the ground beneath collapsing shortly after its completion. (For comparison, the more famous Tower of Pisa leans at a 3.9-degree angle. Asinelli also leans but to a lesser degree.)

Experts from Italy’s civil protection agency have been monitoring the towers for decades, and last month ordered the area surrounding them to be cordoned off after sensors detected shifts in the direction of the tower’s tilt.

Photography: Comune di Bologna

Efforts to reinforce the towers – featured in Dante’s Divine Comedy  – have been ongoing since the 1990s. This month, €4.3m works will begin to shore up the structure, with a yellow alert maintained on the site, indicating caution but no imminent danger, says AP Press.

However, the scope (and cost) of work to fully safeguard the tower’s future is expected to increase. Speaking at a press conference at Bologna City Hall last month, Mayor Lepore said: ‘I think we will spend no less than €20m, maybe more,[ to restore the tower].’

‘For the tower of Pisa, it took 10 years for the intervention and the [restoration] project. We have no reason to say it will take us less.’

According to the Guardian, the mayor also asked the Italian government to petition for the two towers to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like the Tower of Pisa.

[Sources: Guardian/AP Press; ArchDaily]

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