Tor di Nona  

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The Tor di Nona— now a small area in Rome's Rione V called "Ponte", which lies in the heart of the city's historic center, between the via dei Coronari and the Tiber— commemorates an unregretted mediaeval tower which stood there. As the Torre dell'Annona it was a medieval stronghold of the Orsini; from the early 15th century, the tower acted as a pontifical prison: Benevenuto Cellini experienced the ill-famed dungeon's terrible lightless cells, one of which was known as "the pit", and Giordano Bruno was imprisoned here before being burned alive in Campo de' Fiori.

When the New Prison ("Le Carceri nuove") was built in via Giulia, Tor di Nona was rebuilt in 1667 as a theatre patronized by Queen Christina of Sweden and the best Roman company. There are many perhaps unexecuted drawings for it by Carlo Fontana, bound in an album which passed into the hands of Scottish architect Robert Adam, now at Sir John Soane's Museum, London (Concise Catalogue). The theater suffered the fires and rebuildings that theaters are prone to, and was finally swept away when the embankments of the Tiber (lungoteveri) were built in 1888; this section was named Lungotevere Tor di Nona.

A free-standing white marble fountain (1925) memorializes the theater in its late-18th century transformation as the Teatro Apollo, with suitable theatrical masks, and a small trickle of water into a massive sarcophagus, in the somewhat theatrical classical style of Vittorio Emmanuele III and Benito Mussolini. As the Teatro Apollo, the largest lyric theater of Rome, the site witnessed the Roman premieres of two operas of Giuseppe Verdi, Il Trovatore and Un Ballo in Maschera.

Now nothing is left of the original tower nor of the theatre but their name, though Teatro Tor di Nona is a going concern in via degli Acquasparta, presenting works by Luigi Pirandello and contemporary theater.

The quarter, which was inhabited by simple people, should have been destroyed in the forties in the wake of the fascist demolition strategy in Rome. The war, as in Borgo and Via Giulia, blocked the work. In the postwar years, although the population had already left the quarter, a strong press campaign saved Tor di Nona from destruction. Since then, and up to now, the center of Rome was never touched again by the pickaxe.

During the last years of World War II, in Tor di Nona was also located the Roman Mercato Nero.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tor di Nona" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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