Italian officials secure 12th Century leaning tower in Bologna to prevent collapse

MILAN (AP) — Officials have secured the area around one of two 12th Century towers that have become symbolic of the northern city of Bologna, fearing its leaning could lead to collapse.

The city on Friday announced 4.3 million euros ($4.7 million) in works to shore up the Garisenda tower, one of the so-called Two Towers that look out over central Bologna, providing inspiration over the centuries to painters and poets and a lookout spot during conflicts. Work will proceed during January and February.

Italy’s civil protection agency has maintained a yellow alert on the site, denoting caution but not imminent danger.

The Garisenda, the shorter of two towers built between 1109 and 1119, currently stands 48 meters (157 feet) feet to the Asinelli’s 97 meters (320 feet). Mayor Matteo Lepore noted in a debate earlier this month that the Garisenda tower has leaned since it was built “and has been a concern ever since." It sustained additional damage in the medieval era when ironwork and bakery ovens were built inside.