The Torre degli Anguillara can be seen next to the Palazzo degli Anguillara in the Piazza Sonnino in the district of Trastevere in Rome. A plaque on one of its walls misleadingly refers to the building as the Casa di Dante.
Palazzo degli Anguillara Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Sidney Sonnino, 5 – 00153 Rome. Opening hours and admission: The building cannot be visited by tourists.
History and description
The part on the side of the river is the oldest part of the building. It stems from the 11th century and can be recognized by its portico with leaf-shaped capitals.
In 1455 the palazzo had to be almost completely reconstructed by Count Everso II, who decided to incorporate the part of the building that was located along the present Via della Lungaretta. Of course he did not forget to attach his coat-of-arms (two crossed eels, anguilla in Italian) all over the walls of the palazzo.
In the next century the building was given to a vassal of the Anguillara’s, called Alessandro Picciolotti da Carbognano. Not long after that an earthquake caused a lot of damage after which the palazzo was abandoned and gradually became more and more dilapidated. After a while it was even given the nickname Palazzaccio, or “ugly and dirty building” (Roman dialect).
In the 19th century the Forti family bought the building and transformed it into a paint factory. In 1887 the city of Rome took ownership and in 1902 it was reconstructed by the architect Fallani.
The crenellations were added in 1902, as was the mullioned window, which was taken from a house in what used to be the Ghetto.
The Anguillara used to be one of the most important families in Trastevere. They also have part of the street running along the Tiber, the Lungotevere degli Anguillara named after them. The family is now extinct.
Casa di Dante
In 1921 the Casa di Dante, a society dedicated to the study of the works of Dante Alighieri, acquired the Palazzo degli Anguillara. The name “House of Dante” is somewhat misleading, since Dante never lived in this building, or even in Rome. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to receive permission to visit the inside of the building, including its courtyard.