Two towers in Bologna

Two towers in Bologna: donkeys, love, and curiosities

In Bologna, there are many attractions to visit. But the most famous are the Two Towers in Bologna: Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda. These constructions dominates the city. The tallest one is open for tourists who can enjoy a suggestive panorama from the top. They were built during the XII century. It is interesting to read the history. It includes the ground subsidence that makes the Garisenda tower less tall and not completely straight.

The two towers in Bologna

Torre Garisenda

This iconic tower stands as a testament to the city’s rich history. It showcase its architectural prowess and captivating tales of centuries gone by.

The Torre Garisenda is one of Bologna’s most recognizable and celebrated medieval towers, proudly punctuating the city’s skyline. Together with the nearby Torre degli Asinelli, it forms a distinctive pair of leaning towers. That have become synonymous with Bologna’s unique charm.

Dating back to the 12th century, Torre Garisenda is steeped in history. Its construction was commissioned by the prominent Garisenda family, a noble lineage deeply intertwined with the city’s past. Originally, they intended the tower to reach a much greater height. But due to the instability of the ground, it started leaning significantly. This unintentional tilt, however, only added to the tower’s allure and mystique.


The architecture of Torre Garisenda showcases the skill and ingenuity of medieval builders. Rising to a height of approximately 48 meters (157 feet), the tower leans at a dramatic angle. Leaning even more than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The base diameter is impressive, measuring around 4.5 meters (15 feet). But its slender top end is a mere 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) wide. The exterior is characterized by alternating bands of brick and stone, creating a visually striking pattern.

One cannot discuss Torre Garisenda without addressing its distinctive tilt. This unintended leaning is a result of the tower’s foundation settling into the uneven ground over the centuries. It is estimated that the tower leans at an angle of about 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) from the vertical. While concerns about its stability led to a reduction in height, the tower has been carefully preserved and maintained. They did it to ensure its continued presence in the city’s landscape.

Torre Garisenda is more than just an architectural wonder; it has also become a symbol of Bologna’s resilience and adaptability. Despite its precarious lean, the tower stands strong. It reminds us of the city’s ability to weather challenges and retain its unique character.

Two towers in Bologna

Torre degli Asinelli

Standing tall amidst the bustling streets. This towering masterpiece serves as a testament to Bologna’s rich heritage and the remarkable achievements of its past.

The Torre degli Asinelli is an awe-inspiring medieval tower that graces the skyline of Bologna. Alongside its leaning companion, Torre Garisenda, it forms a striking duo. That has come to define the city’s unique charm and historical character.

Erected in the 12th century by the prominent Asinelli family. They gave their name to the construction. The tower holds a storied history deeply intertwined with the city’s evolution. As a towering emblem of Bologna’s prosperity and power during the Middle Ages, Torre degli Asinelli showcases the prominent role of noble families in shaping the urban landscape.


Torre degli Asinelli stands as a magnificent feat of medieval engineering. Soaring to a height of approximately 97 meters (318 feet), this tower proudly holds the title of being one of the tallest leaning towers in the world. Even taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Constructed primarily from brick, its exterior is adorned with elegant arches, windows, and decorative motifs that exhibit the architectural finesse of its time.

A defining feature of Torre degli Asinelli is its impressive wooden staircase, which winds its way up through the tower’s interior. Climbing the staircase is an adventure in itself, offering visitors breathtaking views of Bologna’s historic center and the surrounding landscape as they ascend. The reward at the summit is a panoramic vista that stretches as far as the eye can see, allowing one to truly appreciate the beauty and history of the city.

The tower’s enduring presence stands as a symbol of Bologna’s resilience. Despite its noticeable lean – a result of settling into the ground over centuries – Torre degli Asinelli stands strong, reminding us that even in the face of challenges, determination and ingenuity can prevail.

Torre degli Asinelli isn’t merely a relic of the past; it embodies the city’s identity and holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Bologna. It’s a living reminder of the city’s history, a destination for locals and tourists alike to marvel at the remarkable achievements of their predecessors.

Two towers in Bologna with a legend

One of the two towers in Bologna has a story to tell. You need to know a story related to donkeys and love. Most of the people when they are in Bologna focus on the architecture. That is good, but it is more curious to know the legend about the construction of Torre degli Asinelli. There was a farmer with two donkeys and he was working in the field. At a certain moment, the two animals started to kicking intensively.

He tried to calm them down, but it was almost impossible. Meanwhile, he was managing the donkeys, he saw a portmanteau full of gold coins. He kept it and he decided to improve the lifestyle of his family. But he did it step by step, to hide the treasure and his luck.

Love building

In the years his son grew up, he was a charming young man and he fell in love with a beautiful and noble girl. Typical in Bologna and Italy. Love is always in the air. She was attracted as well, but her father didn’t agree with their love. So he said to the guy that he could marry his daughter after having built the tallest tower in the city. Of course, it was like a hard task, and, considering the condition of the young farmer, it could take many years to be completed.

The boy went back home and told the challenge to his father, who revealed to him the secret about the gold. In ten years, thanks to the coins he could realize the tower. Then he decided to dedicate the building to the two donkeys. He asked again the hand of the girl and her father could not say no anymore since the guy won the challenge. It is only a legend, but a beautiful one and you know: in every legend, there is some truth. You can visit Bologna from another point of view. The two towers in Bologna reserve a lot of surprises.

Around Bologna

When you go up in the tower (478 steps without elevator), maybe with your love, you will feel part of the legend. After that long climb you will get hungry and a few steps for the tower there is a great restaurant. It is perfect if you want to spend a good time with your love and of course, do it with luxury. In Via dell’Indipendenza, close to Piazza Maggiore, the same street as the I Portici Hotel Bologna, there is a five stars luxury hotel called Grand Hotel Majestic. These two accommodations are the best in the city according to my opinion.

Let’s go back to the restaurant in Bologna. The building of Grand Hotel Majestic hosts the famous restaurant I Carracci. It has a superb dining room decorated with frescoes made in the XVI century by the Carracci brothers and with great paintings on the walls. They combined the refined setting with the very good dishes prepared by the executive chef and his staff. They use the traditional recipes of Emilia Romagna with some influence coming from other Italian regions.

The various menu gives the chance to taste the Bolognese cuisine. Meanwhile, the dining room set allows eating in a museum. Because it is full of ancient and precious artworks, plus it offers an elegant and quiet atmosphere. During your stay in Bologna, a dinner at I Carracci restaurant is something that you have to do because you will live a unique and unforgettable experience.

Two towers in Bologna, Italy and legends

Since ancient times, Italians liked a lot to create legends. Most of them are so cool and they make history more lovely. If you want to know more about curiosities and facts about Italy. I am going to share often my impression plus some information about my country.

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