The remarkable story of Portogruaro Civic Tower's probabilistic health monitoring

Daniele Zonta, Matteo Pozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This is the story of a bell-tower and its monitoring. The Civic Tower in Portogruaro is a 59 m high masonry bell-tower, originally built in the XIII century, today leaning more than a meter out of plumb. Since 2003, the building inclination has been continuously monitored with an optical inclinometer in an effort to see whether the tilt is still in progress. When the monitoring started, it was thought highly unlikely that the Tower would tilt further. After three years of monitoring and historical investigation, this idea was completely overturned. We show here how the initial view developed to a final awareness via a probabilistic analysis of the information acquired, based on Bayesian logic. We illustrate how the joint use of instrumental monitoring and historical documentation allowed timely recognition of signs of ongoing tilting and accurate calculation not only of the mean inclination trend, but also the credibility of this information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-318
Number of pages18
JournalStructural Monitoring and Maintenance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Bayesian analysis
  • historic building
  • real-time monitoring


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