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Bologna’s Towers : Climbing the Towers

Pisa isn’t the only Italian city famous for its tower, Bologna is home to some 22 historic and striking towers which characterize its skyline. During the 12th and 13th centuries Bologna had over 180 towers throughout the city, making for an urban skyline that almost resembled modern-day Manhattan.

The towers were built by some of the city’s richest families, both as a symbol of wealth and prestige, and to be used as a defence towers. Today, the remaining towers have become unofficial emblems of the city, and offer tourists a connection to Bologna of the middle ages, when it was known as “la turrita”, meaning “the city with many towers”.
Some of the towers on this list allow visitors to climb up to reveal some of the best panoramic views of Bologna!

Asinelli Tower

The Asinelli Tower was built by the Asinelli family between 1109 – 1119. This tower along with the Garisenda Tower, make up Bologna’s “Two Towers” one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. With a height of 97.2 meters the Asinelli Tower is the tallest tower in Bologna. For €5, visitors willing to climb the 498 steps to the top of the Asinelli Tower will get a fantastic view over the whole city. Students should be careful however, as local superstition suggests that those who climb the tower to the top will never finish their studies!

Garisenda Tower

The Garisenda Tower, which was built directly next to the Asinelli Tower , makes up the second half of Bologna’s iconic “Two Towers”. This second tower was built around the same time as the Asinelli tower, however it is much much smaller (47 metres) and is nicknamed the “leaning tower of Bologna” because of its steep incline. Due to its incline, it is no longer possible to climb the Garisenda tower.

Prendiparte Tower

The Prendiparte Tower, also known as Coronata Tower, was built in the 12th century by the Prendiparte family for defense purposes. The towers stands at 60 meters, making it Bologna’s second tallest tower. Thanks to recent restoration works, the 12 floors of the structure are now totally accessible to the public and the tower is one of Bologna’s best preserved historical buildings.

The tower’s most impressive feature however is the large terrace located on the top floor which allows visitors to see one of Bologna’s best views. The tower is now used as a B&B and can be rented out to host events.

The Tower Observatory (La Specola)

Located within the tower of the Palazzo Poggi is one of Bologna’s most interesting museums, the Specola museum. The museum is dedicated to the discoveries of some of Italy’s most famous astronomers, many of whom studied and taught at Bologna University. The observation deck located at the top of the museum offers one of the best panoramic views of the city.