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Torre dei Margani, Rome

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#1,764 of 2,907 in Things to do in Rome
The Torre dei Conti is a medieval fortified tower in Rome, Italy, located near the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The tower 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, over one of the exedra of the portico of the four apses of the Imperial fora (The Temple of Peace) near the Forum of Nerva. The tower stood on the border of the territory of the rival family of the Frangipani.

Currently standing at 29 metres (95 ft), 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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Torre dei Margani Reviews
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  • The tower belonged to the Margani family who in 1305 acquired the house full of ancient remains, including several Ionic columns. They incorporated the remains of an ancient Roman portico in the...  more »
  • As in other "random" encounters, walking through the city we noticed from afar this decidedly medieval tower. We approached, without going in, and I must say I liked it. I don't...
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  • The Margana Tower (belonging to the Margani family) is located in Margana Square. The brick tower is from the 14th century, with additions in the following centuries, currently three floors are visible, there are also various valuable Roman architectural fragments (for example one depicts an eagle) and above all a trunk of an ancient column, with its capital. Adjacent is a very beautiful portal, decorated with a frame of roses from the late Roman era. Being a very evocative place in Rome, it was depicted by the painter Ettore Roesler Franz The Margani family was a noble family of Rome, allied with the Colonna in the struggle with the Orsini, extinct in the 17th century. Note The Tower, as written above, is part of those painted by the Great Painter Ettore Roesler Franz in the series of "Rome Sparita", 120 watercolors the size of about 50 x75, made between 1878 and 1896. The artist with these representations, wanted to save the image of ancient and popular places of Rome that already at that time were disappearing, thanks to him so we can get the idea of how the city still showed itself in the nineteenth century. This beautiful collection (now 119 paintings are available) is present in the Museum of Rome in Trastevere. NOTE CASE MEDIOEVALI: The city of Rome has a history more than two thousand years and for each period there are many traces. For the period of the Middle Ages (11th-15th century), temporally closer to us than that of ancient Rome we are led to think that there are not many testimonies, instead in the eternal city there are many artifacts (Towers, Churches, Houses and other) that date back to that period. In many cases, however, special attention must be taken to see them, since these buildings (generally two or three storeys), have over time been surrounded by other buildings more modern and certainly taller and also over the centuries have undergone various refurbishments. The most beautiful and stately houses, had porches, arches, columns with capitals, ornamental windows bifurcaus or triphores and other peculiarities.
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