The Two Towers of Bologna is the most popular of the group of medieval structures that can be found in the city of Bologna in Italy. They are considered as primary landmarks in the city and have been preserved and have become part of the city’s appeal and attractions. The Two Towers are particularly being considered as the symbols of the city.
Towers Of Bologna History
The Two Towers of Bologna, along with the other towering structures found in the city was known to be built sometime between the 12th and the 13th Century. During this time, the towers found in the city were found to be quite high, numbering around 180 structures or more. The reasons behind the construction of such tall towers are not entirely clear. One of those suggested reasons was that the height of the tower was used for offensive and defensive purposes by most of the richest families living in the city.
During the 13th Century, quite a number of the towers were either demolished or simply collapsed. The remaining towers were used in various functions. Some of the towers became a prison, while some became city towers, shops or residential buildings. The last time that the towers were demolished was in 1917 when the Artenisi Tower and the Riccadonna Tower were destroyed in an ambitious restructuring plan for the city.
Towers Of Bologna Construction
Constructing the towers were both time consuming and labor intensive. Using the capabilities of the builders during that time, constructing a typical tower standing 60 meters high took from around three to ten years to complete. The towers are built having a square cross section with foundations going between five to ten meters deep. The foundations are reinforced by poles that are hammered to the ground and covered with pebble and lime.
The base of the tower is usually made of blocks of selenite stone. The walls of the towers become thinner and lighter the higher they go. This was made possible by a technique called “a sacco” masonry which is characterized by building a thicker inner wall and a thinner outer wall. The gaps in between are filed with stones and mortar. Most of the towers also have holes left along the outer wall as a means to support scaffoldings and make subsequent coverings and constructions easier to do.
Two Towers Of Bologna Features
The popular Two Towers of Bologna has become symbols of the city. The taller of the two is called Asinelli and the shorter and leaning one is called Garisenda. The Two Towers are both leaning with the shorter one having the more obvious lean of the two. The names of the towers came from the family names of those who were traditionally credited for their construction. The Two Towers were said to be built sometime between 1109 and 1119.
The Asenelli Tower was said to have been initially built with a height of 70 meters which was later rebuilt to stand at a taller 97.2 meters. The Garisenda Tower stands at a height of 48 meters but was initially built to be 60 meters high. But the tower had to be lowered sometime during the 14th Century due to the ground yielding, leaving it leaning dangerously.