Private Tour of the Towers of Bologna
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
They're not as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and not as precariously pitched. But 100 miles northeast of the world's best-known weak foundation, Bologna's Two Towers stand securely (more or less) as a beloved civic symbol: one much taller than what Pisa has, one a little shorter, both around 160 years older. They were already sinking in too-soft soil when Pisa's builders were congratulating themselves on their new and stable structure.
Le Due Torri are like siblings. The short one, Garisenda, has to engage in risky behavior to stand out next to Asinelli – at 318 feet, just over twice the height. So it leans threateningly, and can't safely be climbed anymore. Big Asinelli, on the other hand, nonchalantly slopes slightly in, challenging all comers to climb its nearly 500 stairs. That pale imitation in Pisa can be summited in just under 300. (The Prendiparte, a stop on this tour, tops 400.)
Why this competitive slant? The focus on counting and comparing? Because while Le Due Torri were ostensibly built as a high perch for vigilant sentries, they were really about outdoing showoff neighbors like Florence and Rome. Asinelli and Garisenda were built taller than they needed to be for a great view. (A view that grew steadily more impressive over nine centuries.) They're projections of pure civic pride, just as cities vie for tallest skyscraper today.
The towers on this tour were the skyscrapers of their day. You can think of Asinelli as a 32-story building – a runt compared to the current record-scraper, the 163-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai. But ask anyone who's climbed those 500 stairs: Thirty-two stories is plenty tall.
And it'll always be taller than what Pisa has.
Giving the Towers their Due
The Two Towers are known for their lean and their views, not their aesthetics. But they've exerted a strange pull for nine centuries. Dante Alighieri, whose Inferno is considered Italian literature's greatest work, wrote a poem proclaiming Garisenda "the greatest tower men talk about"; one verse complained that it kept him from noticing an attractive woman. And architect Minoru Yamasaki is said to have based his design for the World Trade Center's Twin Towers on Le Due.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.