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Climbing the towers of Bologna

Long ago, Bologna was known for the hundreds of towers that decorated the city's panorama. Of the more than 180 towers, only about twenty are still standing. The two best known towers are the Torre Degli Asinelli and the Torre della Garisenda. Together they are more famous as 'Le due Torri' or the two towers of Bologna.
For five euros you can climb the highest one, the Asinelli tower. From this gorgeous skyscraper you get a wonderful view of Bologna.

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two towers bologna

When you see these towers, you’ll notice how much they are both leaning over.

The 2 towers of Bologna: leaning over more than the tower of Pisa!

It’s best described as a miracle that Asinelli’s tower is still standing after all these centuries. The tallest tower of Italy has already had a lot of bad luck since the 12th century. Lightning, fire, minor collapses and even bomb attacks during World War II!
Due to all these problems, the Asinelli tower slowly begun to lean over.

His smaller brother does that even more so.
From the bottom you might notice how skew the Torre della Garisenda appears to be. From the top it becomes even clearer! At 4° this tower is even leaning over more than the tower of Pisa (3.97°)!
The tilting over of the Garisenda tower is mainly due to the fact that it’s standing on weakening soil.

asinelli torre bologna towers

There doesn’t seem to come an end to all the steps you have to climb! Make sure you don’t get dizzy!

Climbing the asinelli tower

On the way to the top you’ll cross 498 steps. So be patient with your fellow travelers when they are moving slowly on the stairs. Not everyone is as fit as you!

Don’t go too fast at the start of the climb. At the bottom of the tower you’ll find a small space in which the tickets were sold in the past. There you can now see some dusty but interesting articles about the two towers. Behind these glass panels you can also see some beautiful pictures of how Bologna should have looked in the Middle Ages.
Dozens of towers, each greater and grander than the previous one, must’ve undoubtedly provided a magical panorama. Nowadays there is not much left of this view, but luckily you can still climb this beautiful tower and with a little imagination you might even fantasise about how it should have looked!

bologna middle ages

This is what Bologna should’ve looked like in medieval times… Impressive! Too bad that a lot of these towers have disappeared.

The view

When you’re almost on top, you’ll first come across a couple of big wooden platforms. In these wooden balconies there are often a few holes you can peek through. Put your camera, or your head, through one of these openings to see how high you are standing. But beware if you have fear of heights. I wouldn’t want you to get sick!

Once you climb through the wooden gate, you’re finally rewarded with the most beautiful view over Bologna. Everywhere around you, you’ll see the beautiful red roofs of this Italian city. In the distance you can even see some sights of Bologna at a single glance. Definitely look straight down (if you dare!).
Finding the highest point of a city is always fun, and in Bologna that’s no different.

viewing platform two towers of Bologna

Good news! You’re almost at the viewing platform.

torre degli asinelli bologna sights view

Finally arrived! Get some fresh air and be amazed by the gorgeous views you’ll get over the city.

view of Bologna from the towers

The view from up the tower. You can walk around the whole platform, and thus get a 360° view over this gorgeous city.

Tickets for the two towers of Bologna

Can you handle the 498 steps, you think? First you’ll need to purchase an entrance ticket before you can enter the tower.
An admission ticket costs five euros per person (€3 for -12 or +65 years), and gives you one hour in the tower.

A ticket can be bought at the Bologna Tourist Office. The nearest tourist point is on Piazza Maggiore, under the big patio and right across the Basilica di San Petronio.
This is about five minutes walking from Bologna’s two towers.
Here you can also buy tickets for some other attractions in Bologna, if you’d like.

With your ticket you are allocated a certain time slot, so keep this in mind when booking your entrance ticket.
The times are as follows:
9:30 am, 10:15 am, 11:00 am, 11:45 am, 12:30 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:00 pm, 2:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:15 pm and 5:00 pm. From March 1 to November 5, you can also visit the Due Torri in the evening (5:45 pm and 6:30 pm).

two towers of Bologna tickets

You must buy the tickets in advance. The best place to do this is at the tourism office on the Piazza Maggiore.

Tips for climbing the towers

  • Don’t waist your time. An hour seems like a lot, but don’t forget that you must first do the climbing. This takes ten to twenty minutes, and afterwards you have to descend as well. At the top of the tower you have plenty of time to rest.
  • Always stay on one side of the stairs. That way, people who are faster than you can move on.
  • Put your camera or lens through the openings of the enclosure. Otherwise, you’ll see the fencing on the picture, which makes the view less beautiful. If you have a camera with a strap it’s smart to wrap that around your hand while you take the pictures.
    If you’re tall enough, you can also dangle your camera over the fence, but definitely make sure you attach it well so that you don’t drop it!
  • Plan your visit in advance. You can only visit the tower at certain times, and planning a little ahead of time will not save you valuable time during your city trip.
things to do in bologna climbing two towers

The Torre della Garisenda. The smaller brother of the Asinelli tower. You can see this leaning tower from up close from the viewing platform.

Other things to see in Bologna

The towers of Bologna are certainly a highlight of this city, but there is much more to see. If you have a car, I recommend also going to some sights just outside of the city. Definitely read this article for more inspiration.
If you like to already book some tickets or guided tours in advance, you can take a look at these options:

 

» All tours and excursions in Bologna

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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