Not only Pisa has a leaning tower, Bologna even has two leaning towers -Torre Garisenda and Torre Asinelli. Both towers are considered landmarks of the city.
As in many other cities in Italy, many towers were built in Bologna between the 12th and 13th centuries. Exactly how many towers is no longer known today.
The construction of the tower was very expensive and could only be financed by very rich families. Deep foundations had to be sunk into the ground for the square towers. Then the corner pillars could be built from huge stone blocks and the walls were built in shell construction. Even today, one can discover in the masonry the holes that were needed to fix the scaffolding.
At the end of the 13th century, many towers were ground or dismantled. The towers that remained served, for example, as dungeons, civic towers, apartments. Today, Bologna still has about 20 towers, ranging from 97 meters to 32 meters high.
About the leaning towers of Bologna
The two leaning towers in Bologna were originally about the same height and connected by a bridge. This was destroyed by fire in 1399.
Today it is believed that the Torre Asinelli was originally 60 meters high and was only subsequently raised to 97.20 meters. The tower has a slope of 1.3 degrees. For a long time the building served the community as a dungeon. Several times lightning struck the tower and caused fires. In 1824, a lightning protection system was installed.
Torre Garisenda is much more crooked than its larger neighbor. Today it is 48 meters high and has a slope of 3.20 meters. Originally the tower was about 60 meters high, it was rebuilt because of the slope.
Ascent to Torre Asinelli
The larger of the two towers, the Torre Asinelli, can be visited today. For this you need an entrance ticket, which is valid only for a certain time slot.
The ticket can be purchased in advance online or at the tourist information center located nearby.
We were there about 10 minutes before our ascent time and got in line for visitors. Only a certain size of group is admitted, so there may be a wait during the season. You only have 45 minutes to ascend, descend, visit and enjoy the view.
I still have to apologize to Patrick for the idea to climb the tower. He had just run a marathon in Florence 2 days earlier and had more than tired legs. Yes and then I came up with the idea of climbing the tower and he then actually tackled the 498 steps with me.
First, a staircase always leads up the wall of the tower almost like a square spiral staircase. However, the staircase is so narrow that two-way traffic is not possible. Then, in the upper section of the tower, a steep staircase leads to the observation deck. For those who don’t like to look into the depths. The stairs are not particularly pleasant. You look relatively far down and the lighting conditions in the tower were not so good during our visit.
But when you get to the top, you are rewarded with an insanely great 360 degree view over the city.
Since not so many visitors were on the platform at the same time we could photograph in peace and enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the time is limited and you are reminded in time that you have to descend, because in front of the tower already waiting for the next visitors.
I think that the tower climb was really worth it. From up there you simply have a fantastic city view!
Piazza di Porta Ravegnana,
40126 Bologna BO,
Beginning of November – end of February:
9.30 – 17 h (every 45 minutes)
March to early November:
9.30 – 18.30 (every 45 minutes)
Discounts are offered.
Attention. A ticket must be purchased for a fixed timeslot. Admission only for this slot for 45 minutes.
Tickets online or at
Bologna Welcome Point,
Piazza Maggiore 1/e
40124 – Bologna