The Torre della Moletta is a medieval tower on the south side of what is left of the Circus Maximus in Rome. The tower was one of the properties of the Frangipane family. Francis of Assisi is said to have stayed there one day. Since 2017 the tower can be visited together with the excavations of the Circus Maximus.
Torre della Moletta Rome
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Viale Aventino. The tower stands on the south side of the Circus Maximus behind the fence that protects the excavations. The visit is included in the tour of the excavated part of Circus Maximus. Opening hours: From 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. during summer time and from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. during winter time. Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 am to 2 pm. Admission: 5 Euro (4 Euro with discount). Metro: Circo Massimo (line B). Bus: 75, 81, 118, 160, 673, N2, N10 (stop: Circo Massimo).
History Torre della Moletta Rome
The Torre della Moletta stands rather desolate between the excavations of the Circus Maximus.
After the Circus Maximus fell into disrepair during the Middle Ages, the site was used for vineyards and vegetable gardens. At that time the district was in the hands of the Frangipane family who had large numbers of humble and dilapidated dwellings built there.
These houses were all demolished between 1932 and 1935. The only structure that remained standing was the tower at one end of the Circus Maximus, which was called Torris in Capite Circi, but usually simply called Torre della Moletta.
In 1223 Francis of Assisi is said to have stayed in the tower. He was a guest of the widow of Graziano Frangipane, with whom he maintained a close friendship.
The name della Moletta is due to the proximity of a water mill. It was set in motion by the Fosso di San Giovanni, a tributary of the Aniene. In 1122 Pope Callixtus II redirected it to the Porta Metronia, the gardens of San Sisto Vecchio, between the Celio and Aventine hills (where now the Via delle Terme di Caracalla runs) and finally to the Circus Maximus. At the Cloaca Maxima it flew into the Tiber.
The tower is square and is slightly wider at the top end. Beneath the broad part there are blind arches, while on the top there are battlements.
Now the tower stands alone, but in the Middle Ages it was part of the Frangipani‘s line of defence near the Palatine. There are no other traces of of this defensive line of towers left.
During the excavations around the Torre della Moletta this tower was restored at the same time. A staircase inside the tower leads to the upper floor, where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Circus Maximus.