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Bologna seals off landmark tower amid safety concerns

Bologna moves traffic away from Torre della Garisenda.

Italy culture officials have raised concerns over the safety of the Garisenda Tower in Bologna as authorities in the northern Italian city closed off streets around the mediaeval structure.

The famed 48-metre high tower was sealed off at the weekend after sensors detected an increasing amount of "worrying" movement, culture undersecretary Lucia Borgonzoni told Quotidiano Nazionale on Monday.

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

Borgonzoni, of the right-wing Lega party, said the government has allocated €5 million from the National Plan of Recovery and Resilience (PNRR) fund to shore up the tower's foundations.

She also sparked a political debate by suggesting that the city's scientific committee tasked with monitoring the tower had "underestimated" the situation.

Bologna's centre-left mayor Matteo Lepore subsequently told reporters that the structure did not represent a danger to public safety and there was no imminent risk of its collapse, stating: "The tower has always swayed and leaned since it was built."

Describing the Garisenda Tower as a symbol of Bologna, Lepore said "we will do everything to safeguard it", including a possible ban on the circulation of city buses past the towers.

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.

 

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Address P.za di Porta Ravegnana, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy

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Bologna seals off landmark tower amid safety concerns

P.za di Porta Ravegnana, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy

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