The Torre dei Prendiparte is one of Bologna’s few surviving towers. It is also called “The Crowned” because of a crown-like crenulation pattern in the brick at the top. Built in the second half of the 12th century, it is 61 metres tall with a pinnacle at the top. Like the Asinelli and Garisenda towers, this one also leans slightly.
It is very likely that the Torre Prendiparte was also shortened, or perhaps never completed. It is found on the little Via Sant'Alò at a point where the road widens into a sort of little piazza. This little piazza is called San Senesio, named after the church that once stood here.
The Guelf Prendiparte family was among the most noble and well known in the city. Two of its members were consuls of Bologna and in the 13th century alone members of the Prendiparte family performed the role of podestà (high ranking officials) 13 times in various Italian cities.
The tower was first sold for 500 lire at the end of the 13th century. The Prendiparte family bought it back before passing it on again in 1400 (this time permanently) to the Fabruzzi family. In 1500 it passed to the Church and in the second half eighteenth century, it became the prison della Curia.
There are still inscriptions on the walls of the middle floors carved by prisoners: the most striking is that of a certain Angelo Rizzoli who wrote that he had been “imprisoned for impregnating two sisters”. Today, the tower has shed its dark prison garb and now hosts a bed & breakfast.