"Towering Above It All" Due Torri Tip by von.otter
Due Torri, Bologna: 38 reviews and 95 photos
?The medieval nobles built towers just for pure swank, to see who should have the tallest till a town like Bologna must have bristled like a porcupine in a rage.?
? D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Torre Asinelli was originally built to a height of 230 feet; and was later raised to the current 330 feet. In the 14th century the tower became the property of the city, which used it as prison and small stronghold. While the city owned the tower a wooden platform was added around the tower at a height of 98 feet above the ground; this was connected with a footbridge to Torre Garisenda. Giovanni Visconti, Duke of Milan, had this alteration made because he wanted to use it to control the rough and tumble Mercato di Mezzo, what is today via Rizzoli) and crush any threats to his rule. The Visconti had become the rulers of Bologna after the decline of the Signoria of the Pepoli family, but were unpopular in the city.
Severe damage has been caused by lightning strikes, often resulting in small fires and minor structural damage; in 1824 a lightning rod was installed. The tower survived, however, at least two known major fires. The first one, in 1185, was caused by arson and the second one, in 1398, destroyed the wooden platform and footbridge that had been added.
Torre Asinelli has been helpful in gathering scientific data. In 1640 Giovanni Battista Riccioli and, in the following century, Giovanni Battista Guglielmini used the tower to study how heavy objects move through space and to study the earth?s rotation. Between 1943 and 1945, during the Second World War, the tower was used as a sight post. During bombing raids, volunteers took up posts at the top of the tower to direct rescue operations to places hit by Allied bombs. In the television age, RAI installed a relay antenna at the tower?s top.
Address: Piazza Ravegnana, eastern end of Via Rizzoli
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