The leaning Garisenda and Asinelli Towers (also known as the Two Towers), are the symbol of Bologna. They are located at the intersection of the roads that lead to the five gates of the old ring wall (mura dei torresotti).
Asinelli Tower is the taller, while the smaller (and more leaning) tower is called the Garisenda. Their names derive from the families which are traditionally credited for their construction between 1109 and 1119.
It is believed that the Asinelli Tower initially had a height of ca. 70 m and was raised only later to the current 97.2 m (with an overhanging rock of 2.2 m). In the 14th century the city became its owner and used it as prison and small stronghold. During this period a wooden construction was added around the tower at a height of 30 m above ground, which was connected with an aerial footbridge (later destroyed during a fire in 1398) to the Garisenda Tower. Its addition is attributed to Giovanni Visconti, Duke of Milan, who allegedly wanted to use it to control the turbulent Mercato di Mezzo (current via Rizzoli) and suppress possible revolts. The tower survived, however, at least two documented large fires: the first in 1185 was due to arson and the second one in 1398 has already been mentioned above.
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