Leaning Towers of Bologna, Asinelli and Garisenda Towers: A Tale of History, Restoration, and Unforgettable Adventures

garisenda leaning tower bologna italy

Bologna, Italy, is a city steeped in history, and at its heart stand two iconic towers – the Asinelli and Garisenda Towers. These medieval marvels not only lean towards each other, defying gravity, but also tell a fascinating story of medieval ambition, architectural prowess, and the enduring battle against the forces of nature. In this blog, we’ll delve into the tilting history of these towers, explore their significance as tourist attractions, witness the miraculous restoration of the Garisenda Tower, and discover the rich tapestry of Bologna beyond its leaning landmarks.

A Tilting History:

The Garisenda Tower, constructed between 1109 and 1119, once aspired to reach 60 meters but now leans dramatically at 3.2 meters off its vertical axis. The tilt began early due to unstable foundations on Bologna’s soft soil. In the 13th century, fearing collapse, authorities truncated its height by 15 meters, ensuring its survival in a permanently tilted state.

The Asinelli Tower, taller and straighter, was built between 1109 and 1198, leaning slightly due to the same unstable foundation. Unlike its counterpart, it retained its original height, offering panoramic views from its 49-meter summit.

Towers of Tourism:

Today, these towers aren’t just relics; they’re magnets for tourists. Climbing the 498 steps of the Asinelli Tower rewards visitors with panoramic vistas. While the Garisenda Tower is off-limits for climbers due to safety concerns, its dramatic tilt and historical significance continue to attract onlookers.

Saving a Leaning Icon:

In 2012, the Italian government funded a restoration project for the Garisenda Tower. This ambitious undertaking included soil consolidation, structural reinforcement with steel cables and titanium rods, and a monitoring system to track any potential movement. In 2023, the project declared success, reducing the tilt by 45 centimeters and ensuring the tower’s stability for generations to come.

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Miraculous Restoration:

The restoration not only preserves the Garisenda’s history but also opens the possibility of reopening it to tourists, providing an opportunity to climb a tower that defied gravity for centuries.

Beyond the Towers:

The Towers of Bologna serve as a gateway to the city’s rich history and culture. Exploring Piazza Maggiore, museums, and churches reveals the medieval charm of Bologna. Whether you’re an architecture buff, history enthusiast, or seeker of unique experiences, leaning towers of Bologna offer an unforgettable encounter with the past and human ingenuity.

The Leaning Towers of Bologna: A Tale of Two Tilting Beauties:

Bologna boasts a skyline defined not by modern skyscrapers but by two ancient towers – the Garisenda and Asinelli Towers. Built as symbols of power during medieval rivalries, their tilts tell a captivating story.

A Glimpse into Bologna’s Towering History:

Constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries, these towers were symbols of wealth and influence. The Garisenda’s tilt of 3.2 degrees resulted from unstable foundations, leading to a truncated height. The Asinelli Tower, funded by rivals, stands at 97.2 meters, outdoing its competition.

Saved by a Kiss and Modern Technology:

In 1935, the “Kiss of the Towers” stabilized the Garisenda temporarily. Concerns over its increasing tilt led to a €4 million restoration project in 2023, combining traditional techniques and modern technology.

Exploring Bologna’s Tilting Wonders:

Both towers attract tourists, with the Asinelli Tower open for climbs. A stroll around the Garisenda offers a unique perspective, and nearby towers like Azzoguidi and Prendiparte add to the city’s historical charm.

A City that Leans into the Future:

Bologna’s towers symbolize resilience and innovation. As restoration projects continue, the city looks towards a sustainable future while preserving its medieval heritage.

Planning Your Bologna Tower Adventure:

Consider the best time to visit, purchase a Bologna Card for discounts, and learn basic Italian phrases. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food, Bologna promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.


Bologna’s Leaning Towers are more than architectural wonders; they are guardians of the city’s past and symbols of its endurance. As you explore their ancient streets, marvel at their angles, and absorb the whispers of history, Bologna welcomes you to a unique journey through time.

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