The most prominent of nearly 20 towers left over from a medieval "arms race"
Bologna's Twin Towers
Pisa's hardly the only Italian city with famous leaning towers. In fact, in the 12th and 13th centuries especially, Bologna was reknowned for its nearly 200 towers. No one knows how it got started, but a kind of towers arms race developed, with wealthy families vying to outdo each other in height as a symbol of their wealth and power. Of the fewer than 20 that remain, Garisenda and Asinelli are the most prominent. The former is 48 metres (157 feet) high, and at the top leans 3.2 m (just over 10 ft), while the latter is quite a bit higher (98 m/322 ft) but with less of a lean (just 1.2 m/four ft). Each comes with its own history, of course; the Garisenda makes appearances in the poetry and Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, and the Asinelli among other things served as a World War II lookout for possible aerial bombardment.