Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Towers of Bologna

'Il Due Torre'
Bologna reputedly used to have dozens and dozens of tall towers on its medieval skyline -- not solely for defensive purposes, but just because, you know, it made you look good. Prestige rather than security. There are only a handful left now, and two in particular are on the tourist route - they’re known as the ‘Due Torre’ - the ‘Two Towers’. One you can walk up -- the other, Torre Garisenda, no. It has a significant list, up to 3 metres by some accounts. 

Leaning a bit.

I dutifully climbed the other, Torre Asinelli - so I could tell you all about it. It has 498 steps (count ‘em!) and is 97 metres tall. From the top, all of Bologna is laid out below you, from the red roofs of the old town to the greenery on the outskirts.

I asked the chap sitting in the casse booth, taking the tourists’ €3, if anyone ever fell down the scala -- some of those steps were mightily steep and treacherous. He assured me no -- he said that it was so steep up there that everyone held on for grim life. He also told me that the steps had been re-built seven times, most recently in 1928 -- though often repaired.

Trying to get a pic that shows the lean of the shorter tower
- it really is quite pronounced.
498 steps up, and a sign that says 'no stopping'
Looking down.
Halfway up. 
Yep - this one is TALLER than that midget in Verona...
Near the top...who left this here...??
Wonderful views.
San Petronio from on high.
View from the top.
And then the climb back down....
"Given the size of the tower and the consequent structure of the stairs,
we call for maximum prudence. We accept no responsibility for any injury."

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