The Rocca Pia is an old castle in the historical centre of Tivoli and was built by Pope Pius II in the 15th century. It stands on top of a well-defended hill and consists of a wide defensive wall with four round towers.
Rocca Pia Tivoli
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazzale delle Nazioni Unite – 00019 – Tivoli.
History and description
Construction of the Rocca Pia began in 1461. Pope Pius II Piccolomini was in the city for the first time and hoped to obtain the loyalty of the inhabitants in this way .
The architects were probably Niccolò and Varrone, students of Filarete.
The building is made of a local volcanic stone called tufo (“tuff”) and consists of four circular towers connected by a huge wall around a courtyard.
The towers, which all still have the original Guelph battlements, have different dimensions. The biggest one stands 36.50 meters tall and used to serve as a keep. Each one of its six floors only has one room.
The second tower has a height of 25.50 meters and has five floors, while the final two are both 18 meters tall and consist of three rooms.
The bottom part of the wall is characterized at the bottom by a stone skirt and at the top by arched friezes, but the battlements have disappeared.
On the east side, you can still see the bricked-up opening where the drawbridge used to be attached.
In 1870 the castle was converted into a prison. To accomplish this, a building was added in the courtyard.
Currently, the Rocca Pia has no official function.