The Capitoline Museum, Rome.

The Capitole hill.

As the name of the museum indicates, this museum is located on the Capitol, one of the seven hills of Rome

Throughout the city of Rome’s history, the Capitol has been the seat of the government, (the US Capitol Hill drawing on the name).

Today, the layout and much of what you see dates back to the 16th century when Michaelangelo created the piazza at the top of the hill, (Piazza del Campidoglio) reached by a very impressive staircase, the Cordonata. The plan conceived by Michelangelo in 1536 was executed over a period of more than 400 years. On the trapezoidal Piazza del Campidoglio the two buildings, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Buovo, are connected underground with a corridor and facing each other are the seat of the Capitol Museum. Together with a church they create a unique layout.  The statue of the mounted rider representing Emperor Marcus Aurelius,located in the center of the square, is a copy since the original is in the Capitoline museum.

The Museums lie just to the south of the Piazza Venezia, with its eye-catching white monument the “Vittoriano” or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II is also called by the Romans “the typewriter” or “the wedding cake” for its distinctive shape. From the Capitol you can enjoy great views over the Roman Forum down to the Colosseum.

The Capitoline museums lay claim to being the world’s oldest national museums founded in 1471 when pope Sixtus IV donated a collection of important ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on the Capitoline Hill. Since then, the museums’ collection has grown to include a multitude of Roman statues, objects from the history of Rome and an unmatched collection of Medieval and Renaissance art. The Palazzo dei Conservatori is the main entrance and was once the main location of the city magistrates. The ground floor is still used partly as a municipal registry office.

Most of the building houses many well-known statues, including the symbol of Rome; the she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus. You will also find a collection of masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck on the second floor in the Pinacotheque. Another well-known statue from the first century is “Lo Spinario”, a bronze statue of a naked boy taking a thorn out of his foot.

In the Palazzo Nuovo you will mainly find classical sculptures, such as the statue of the Dying Gaul, the Venus Capitolina and the sculpture group of Amor and Psyche.

The Capitoline Museums along with the Borghese Gallery and the Vatican Museums are some of the most popular museums in Rome and a should visit site! A particularly popular feature of a visit to the Capitoline Museum is the rooftop restaurant, with its fine views over the city of Rome.

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