Bologna Due Torri
About Due Torri
The ‘Two Towers’ are symbolic of the long history of this city as well as its commercial and feudal ties. On the left is Torre Garisenda, standing at 47.5m high, having been cut down in the middle of the 1300s due to its dangerous tilt. Visitors are not permitted inside this one.
On the other hand, Torre Asinelli, stands at 97.3m high and is open to the public. It was constructed around the middle of the 12th century. The city council eventually took ownership of it around the end of the 1300s.
Both towers are believed to have been built by the families attributed to their names, although historic records cannot confirm this and point to various anomalies.
‘The Asinelli Tower was used by the scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli (in 1640) and Giovanni Battista Guglielmini(in the following century) for experiments to study the motion of heavy bodies and the earth rotation. In World War II, between 1943 and 1945, it was used as a sight post: During bombing attacks, four volunteers took post at the top to direct rescue operations to places hit by allied bombs. Later, a RAI television relay was installed on top.’1
In the past, the Asinelli Tower was also used as prison in the 14th century, and a stronghold. Both towers were even connected by a footbridge attributed to Giovanni Visconti, Duke of Milan.
Fires throughout the centuries threatened to destroy the towers but they remained intact probably due to their sturdy construction of an external and internal wall filled in between with stones and mortar.
It’s thought that Bologna may have had up to 180 towers of this distinction but again, historic proof is difficult to illustrate. Nonetheless, for a small walled city, Bologna did have an incredible number of towers of which there are still quite a few remaining. Most were taken down in the 13th century due to poorly built methods resulting in a precarious situation for those living in or around them.
The view from the top is of course spectacular and well worth the arduous climb.
Costa, Tiziano – Poli, Marco. Conoscere Bologna, Bologna 2005, p225.