A famous Italian tower is increasingly leaning and leaving the local authorities on the verge of a “nervous breakdown”. No, we’re not talking about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but about the Garicinda Tower in Bologna. This structure shows such worrying dynamics that it is feared it will fall on another neighboring tower, the Asinelli. The two buildings are the “towers” that constitute one of the symbols of the city of Bologna.
Due to the greater inclination of the Garicenda Tower, the local mayor has already ordered the closure of the Italian city’s central square, a closure that will continue for many years to come as it will take up to 10 years for a solution to emerge. .
According to the New York Times, recent investigations found that the tower, which has a four-degree tilt, showed signs of an unexpected rotation in the tilt, in addition to other movements, which cannot be seen by the human eye but are invisible. It is important to study it for everyone’s safety.
“It is not that the tower is collapsing or collapsing. We have been following this matter since 2018, as if a patient was hospitalized. We know that it needs to be protected and restored, so we started immediately,” Bologna Mayor Matteo Libor says in an interview.
In fact, local authorities and experts have monitored the structure for several years, using fiber-optic acoustic monitoring devices. Pendulums, GPS, and groundwater monitoring systems operate beneath the tower.
Since 1990, several iron rings have been used to support the upper part of the building, made of Polish red brick, and two years ago the base of the tower was reinforced with these structures, in order to avoid cracks in the fragile selenite stone that makes even the garisenda.
Construction of this monument began in 1100, but soon after the ground and foundations began sinking into the ground, due to an alleged planning error. In 1300, the height of the tower was shortened due to its leaning and fears that it would fall. It even frightened Dante Alighieri, who in the first volume of the Divine Comedy compared the tower to the giant Antaeus.
“Everyone agrees that the base needs to be strengthened, both because of its historical fragility and because of the recent concerns raised by the data collected,” points out Cleto Carlini, advisor in charge of public works at the Bologna City Council.
How to do this has been a huge challenge. There were already plans to raise the columns with steel cables to support the tower, but they ended up in the trash for fear that installing the columns would affect the stability of the neighboring Torre Asinelli area, a few meters from Garicenda.
It was also believed that a special type of cement would be injected into the base, to fill cracks that appeared in recent centuries, but the project did not go ahead.
This time, with the central plaza area already fenced off, the plan will include building some kind of barrier around the base of the tower. The structure, which is about 50 meters (48 metres) high, will then be encased in something like a “sandbox”, until a decision is made on the monument’s restoration strategy.
This security structure will be built within six months, but from then on, all options are open: even “dismantling” part of the tower and rebuilding it in a more solid and stable way.
According to local officials, the restoration of Torre Garicenda will take “many years, perhaps even a decade” to complete. The works that have already begun have interrupted traffic and are being used by the municipality to “redesign mobility in the city and make it more exclusively pedestrian.”
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