Italy Has Plan to Save Its Other Leaning Tower

Equipment used on Tower of Pisa will be used to stabilize historic Bologna tower
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2024 2:18 PM CDT
Pisa Equipment Could Save Italy's Other Leaning Tower
The Garisenda, left, and Asinelli towers in Bologna, Italy   (Massimo Paolone, Lapresse Via AP)

The historic Garisenda Tower in Bologna is in trouble—but luckily, engineers in Italy know a thing or two about fixing leaning towers. The Bologna tower, older than the Tower of Pisa but not as famous, was closed for restoration in October and authorities warned in December that it could be at risk of collapse. Bologna's mayor, Matteo Lepore, said this week that the tower can be saved with equipment that stabilized the Pisa tower years ago, CNN reports. Lepore said specially adapted steel scaffolding used on the tower in Pisa, around 70 miles away from Bologna, will be installed at the Garisenda Tower, moving it to a "green phase" of safety from a "yellow phase" of relative danger, reports ANSA.

The project will also involve pylons and cables used on the Pisa tower. Authorities plan to improve the masonry, using a "hydraulic lime-based mortar mixture compatible with the one present," according to a city news release. The next step in a project expected to last until June 2036 will be to use cables to reduce the "state of stress at the base of the most critical area," the city said. The Tower of Pisa was leaning at 4.5 degrees in the early 1990s, CNN reports. An eight-year project that concluded in 2001 brought the lean to 3.9 degrees and authorities say it is very stable. The Garisenda Tower is currently leaning at 4 degrees.

The 158-foot Garisenda Tower, completed in the 12th century at what used to be the entrance to the city, was mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. It began leaning a couple of centuries after it was built. The neighboring Arisenda Tower—built around the same time by a rival family—also leans, but only at 1.3 degrees. (More leaning tower stories.)

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