Torre dei Conti

Rome, Italy

The Torre dei Conti was one of the most impressive towers that dominated medieval Rome. It was built in 1238 by Richard Conti, brother of Pope Innocent III as a fortified residence for his family, the Conti di Segni. The tower stood on the border of the territory of the rival family of the Frangipani. Currently standing at 29 metres, it was once 50–60 m tall, and gained the nickname of Torre Maggiore (Major Tower) for its size. Originally covered in travertine salvaged from the ruins of the Imperial Fora, this covering was in turn stripped for use in the construction of the Porta Pia in the 16th century, designed by Michelangelo.

The upper floors were destroyed by a series of earthquakes culminating in the earthquake of 1348, after which it was abandoned until 1620, when it was rebuilt by the Papal Chamber. Other earthquakes in 1630 and 1644 caused damage which was repaired at the end of the 17th century by Pope Alexander VIII, who added two buttresses.

With the opening of the Via Cavour in the 19th century and the Via dei Fori Imperiali in the early 20th century, the tower was left isolated from other buildings. In 1937, the tower was donated by Benito Mussolini to the Arditi (Italian stormtroopers), which retained ownership until 1943. The tower contains the mausoleum of General Alessandro Parisi, whose remains are preserved in an ancient Roman sarcophagus. Parisi, who died in an automobile accident in 1938, was the leader of the Arditi.



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Via Tor de' Conti 37, Rome, Italy
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Founded: 1238
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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User Reviews

Filomena Delle Rose (12 months ago)
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to visit the interior for about fifteen years
Lory Brunetti (2 years ago)
Imponente e maestosa ancora oggi, nonostante sia ridotta a un terzo della sua struttura originaria, la Torre de’ Conti è un bellissimo esempio delle case-torri della Roma medievale, dimore e fortezze delle famiglie baronali e delle autorità ecclesiastiche. Citata persino da Francesco Petrarca nelle sue lettere e nota anche come Torre Maggiore o Torre Secura, per la sua imponenza e la sua inespugnabilità, era stata eretta sui resti di una delle quattro esedre del Tempio della Pace forse già nel IX secolo. Nel 1203, su disegno dell’architetto Marchionne Aretino, la torre fu sicuramente fatta ampliare da papa Innocenzo III per la sua famiglia, i conti di Segni, e rivestita con lastre di travertino provenienti dai Fori Imperiali, poi asportate nel tardo Cinquecento in occasione della costruzione di Porta Pia. Nelle intenzioni del pontefice, la torre doveva rappresentare il potere ecclesiastico e tutelare le processioni papali da San Pietro al Laterano. I 29 metri circa che oggi vediamo costituiscono soltanto il basamento della torre che in origine doveva superare i 50-60 metri. A ridurla allo stato attuale furono i terremoti che si susseguirono nel corso della sua storia, soprattutto quelli del 1348, 1630 e 1644. Alla fine del Seicento, la torre subì un importante restauro sotto il pontificato di Alessandro VIII, e a questo periodo risalgono i due robusti contrafforti di rinforzo tuttora esistenti. Nei secoli successivi la torre, diroccata e abbandonata, fu utilizzata come fienile e come deposito di carbone. Gli sventramenti eseguiti tra la fine dell’Ottocento e gli anni Trenta per l’apertura di via Cavour e dell’attuale via dei Fori Imperiali hanno determinato il suo isolamento e la distruzione del dedalo di viuzze che la circondava. Oggi la torre si affaccia su largo Corrado Ricci (dal nome del direttore generale delle Antichità e Belle Arti durante gli scavi di “via dell'Impero”) che ha preso il posto della vecchia “piazza delle Carrette”, un toponimo che discende dai carri che facevano qui sosta, al limite del Foro Romano, allora zona di mercato
Gianluca Pica (2 years ago)
As a tour guide it is always pleasant for me to pass by this apparently anonymous tower, explaining, however, to my tourists how it is a vivid testimony of a very turbulent period for Rome, that Middle Ages often mistreated but which actually left a lot as a legacy. also from an architectural point of view. Built around the twelfth century, in fact, the Torre dei Conti (from the name of the baronial family that had it built, a family from which a couple of popes of the time also came) was originally the highest tower in all of Rome, at least according to some documents. Then, due to various vicissitudes (looting and earthquakes above all), a large part of the building was lost. Despite this, the Torre dei Conti tells us how dangerous the atmosphere was in the city of those centuries, when a multitude of noble families used to wage among themselves to take power, often aiming to decide which Pope to elect in order to have full control. on Rome. The city had hundreds of towers, like many other Italian cities, most of which disappeared as early as the thirteenth century during the spread of an architectural and urban plan aimed at making Rome a modern city (for the time), and definitely a little quieter. In the Fascist era, then, the Torre dei Conti became the seat of an association linked to Italian veterans.
Cesare Roncacci (3 years ago)
Too bad it's closed
Alfonso Pérez (4 years ago)
Need to see...once seen 5 stars fall short.
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