The tallest leaning medieval tower in the world was built between
1109 and 1119
by the Asinelli family
At 97.2 meters, The Torre degli Asinelli is the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world.
It was built between 1109 and 1119 and is one of the twenty towers that have survived the centuries. The Torre degli Asinelli has a little sister, the Garisenda tower:
the pair of towers is a universally recognized symbol of the city for both visitors and locals.
Despite her noble age and her noticeable lean, you can climb to the top of the Torre degli Asinelli and enjoy the unique viewpoint and panorama that enfolds before you.
Ready to be amazed? Just 498 stairs and you will get a whole new outlook on the city.
Torre degli Asinelli: fun facts
Torre degli Asinelli Tidbits
A cooked tagliatella is 8mm wide –12,270 tagliatelle set side by side would match the Tower’s height.
On three occasions plans were made to build a lift in the Torre Asinelli. The first one was presented in 1887 ahead of the 1888 World Expo.
During the celebration of the papal election of Leon X, in 1513 a cannon was fired and accidentally hit the Tower.
During the Second World War, the city was plagued by bombings and pilots placed bets as to who would be the first to topple the Tower. Fortunately, no one won that wager.
Until 1919, Piazza Ravegnana had five towers: Asinelli, Garisenda, Artenisi, Guidozagni and Riccadonna. The latter three were demolished by the municipality despite feverish opposition from citizens.
In the 15th century a cage for delinquent clergy was hung on the outside of the tower. Moreover, the fortified base of the tower, built in 1488, contained a holding cell that was used to temporarily incarcerate trouble-makers until dawn.
Giovanni Battista Guglielmini performed numerous nighttime experiments from the Tower to study the laws of falling bodies. His experiments were successful and Guglielmini was able to prove the earth’s rotation fifty years before the Foucault pendulum.
The Asinelli Tower had been hit by lightning on several occasions and in 1824, lightning rods were installed. At one point, in 1727 an attempt was made to protect the tower with a statue of the Archangel Michael.. but this method did not prove to be particularly effective.
La Turrita Bologna
"Surge nel chiaro inverno la fosca turrita Bologna".
(Dark in the winter's crystal air arise Bologna's turrets)
This is what Giosuè Carducci, famous poet and writer, Nobel prize winner for Literature 1906, wrote of the city whose distinctive skyline has been easily identifiable throughout the centuries by towers reaching up to the sky.
Many towers and tower/houses were constructed in the Middle Ages. There were at least one hundred of them at one point built by Bolognese families to make show of their power with military function of defense or other military ends. Of those, 24 towers are recognizable in the city centre to this day.