The medieval Torre delle Milizie (Tower of the Militia), which stands next to Trajan's Markets, was probably built during the reign of Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216).
The Torre delle Milizie was once known as 'Nero's Tower' ('Torre di Nerone'). The tower was long-held to be of ancient Roman construction, which led to the fanciful idea that it was from there that the eponymous emperor watched the great fire of Rome, which broke out during the night of July 19th, 64 CE.
The original height of the tower is uncertain, but following the earthquake of 1348, the top two floors were demolished, reducing the structure to its present height of 50 m (160 ft). The earthquake also caused the slight tilting, which gave rise to its other nickname, the 'Torre Pendente' ('Leaning Tower') .
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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