Bologna Landmarks and Monuments
(Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy)
The rich history of Bologna is clearly apparent when you arrive in the city, being displayed by its wealth of historic red-brick buildings and the character that these landmarks create, often being somewhat medieval in their appearance.
Much photographed in the city are the towers of Asinelli and Garisenda, which are not only known for their height, but also for their somewhat precarious angle. These particular towers were known to have been erected in the 12th century by local affluent families as a display of their wealth, and their unfortunate leaning stance is simply due to inadequate foundations. Also worth visiting and photographing in the city of Bologna is the Palazzo Comunale - the former Town Hall, and the elaborate Tombs of the Glossatori, with the most obvious and noteworthy tombs being located at both the Piazza San Domenico and the Piazza San Francesco.
Tower of the Asinelli (Torre degli Asinelli) and Tower of the Garisenda (Torre degli Garisenda)
Address: Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, Bologna, Italy
Often referred to as simply the 'Two Towers of Bologna' and standing alongside the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, these slender landmarks initially appear to be somewhat unstable, with the smallest leaning at a rather alarming angle. During the 12th century and the 13th century, it is documented that the city boasted almost 200 similar towers, which crowded the centre during much of the Middle Ages, with most being demolished over the subsequent years for safety reasons, before they collapsed.
These two particular adjacent towers have become something of an iconic symbol of the city, with the Torres degli Asinelli being the tallest and towering for just over 97 metres / 318 feet. Almost 500 steps lead visitors to the very top, where the views of the cityscape and the neighbouring countryside are well worth the effort. The considerably shorter Torres degli Garisenda is currently not opened to the general public due to its potential instability, and is roughly half the height, measuring in at some 48 metres / 157 feet.
Open hours: daily, 09:00 to 18:00
Address: Piazza Maggiore 6, Bologna, Italy
Tel: +39 (0)51 203 111
Functioning as the Town Hall for Bologna until as recently as 2008, the Palazzo Comunale also goes by the name of the Palazzo d'Accursio and presides over the Piazza Maggiore, close to the Fountain of Neptune. The palace was constructed in the 14th century and currently houses the extensive Civic Art Collection, with many masterpieces from the Renaissance period. Visitors will also be able to explore the acclaimed still-life art works within the resident Museo di Giorgio Morandi, whilst simply appreciating the grandeur of this imposing landmark and the numerous paintings gracing the walls. The central staircase is particularly extravagant and enormous, and was actually built to allow horse-drawn carriages upstairs.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, children 13 years old and under are free
Glossatori Tombs (Tombe dei Glossatori)
Address: Piazza San Domenico e Piazza Malpighi, Bologna, 40100, Italy
Although these are essentially glorified gravestones, the Glossatori Tombs are nevertheless really very special, with a unique charm quite unexpected. Adorning the graves of important Italian lawyers, teachers and scholars, the tombs are spread around no less than five different mausoleums in the city. Dating back to the latter part of the 13th century, these monuments generally comprise a grandiose shrine with graceful marble columns, topped by a tiled roof in the shape of a pyramid.