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Coordinates: 41°53′45.35″N 12°29′11.90″E / 41.8959306°N 12.486639°E / 41.8959306; 12.486639

The Torre delle Milizie before the demolition of the convent of St. Catherine at Magnanapoli.

The Torre delle Milizie ("Tower of the Milices") is a tower in Rome, Italy, annexed to the Trajan's Market in the Imperial fora.

One of the main mediaeval monuments of the city, the tower is on a square plan, its base sides measure 10.5 x 9.5 m, and it currently stands at almost 50 meters. The earthquake of 1348 caused both the crumbling of an upper floor and the slightly tilting of the structure. In origin it belonged to a series of fortified edifices grouped around a court, in which the tower was located.

It gained the popular nickname of "Nero's Tower" from a tradition that it originated as a Roman construction from which Emperor Nero watched the fire of Rome - this is derived from the classical account that he watched from a tower in the Gardens of Maecenas, though more trustworthy accounts place him out of town, at Antium at the time. Its actual construction probably dates to the time of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216).

At the end of the 13th century the tower was a possession of the powerful Annibaldi family, who were followed by the Prefetti di Vico and by the Caetani, Pope Boniface VIII's family. Under the Caetani the fortified quarter was enlarged and strengthened, probably rivalling with Castel Sant'Angelo as Rome's main fortress. When Henry VII of Luxembourg came to the city for his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor (May-June 1312), he chose the Torre delle Milizie as the base for his Guelph supporters. Twenty years later the tower was ceded to the Conti. During their ownership Raphael, in his role as curator of the antiquities of the city, cited the tower as an example of an edifice built re-using antique parts. The Conti held it until 1619, when it was acquired by the nuns of the neighbouring convent (later demolished) of Santa Caterina a Magnanapoli.

See also

Sources

  • Rendina, Claudio (1999). Enciclopedia di Roma. Rome: Newton & Compton.  
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