On the Capitoline hill was the center of the political, social and religues life in Roma.This was the site of the great italic temple dedicated to the Capitoline Jupiter. There are the stairscase with the statue of the Dioscuri and the Palazzo Senatorio. Also there are the Capitoline Museum, which is well known for the fact that is the oldest museum collection in the world.
Designed by the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, Piazza del Campidoglio is the Capitoline Hill's central square (or more like a trapezoid), flanked on three sides by Palazzo Senatorio, Rome's main municipal building, the two palazzi that comprise the Capitoline Museums - Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo.
Michelangelo's plans were not fully realized until in 1940 when Mussolini ordered the paving to strictly follow the maestro's pattern consisting of 12 pointed star referring to the 12 constellations. In the center is statue of Marcus Aurelius, the original of which is displayed at the nearby Palazzo dei Conservatori.
I think what adds real drama to the piazza is the Cordonata - the ramp that leads up to the top from the street below, in a seeming defiance to the ancient glory of the Forum on the other side. The ramp is big enough to accommodate horse riders to go uphill without dismounting.
The Campidoglio or Capito Hill is a great piece of archtecture by Michelangelo. It is entered by this magnificent staircase leading up from the Piazza Venezia. At the top you are greeted by a huge statue of Marcus Aurelius and his horse. The buildings are magnificent Renaissance structures built as the seat of govenment. I understand they are still used for this purpose. While we were there we saw a young couple having wedding photos made. We had also seen a wedding party at the Forum. What a great setting for a wedding! And it is great to see that these places are not dead memorials but part of the life of the city,
Piazza di Campidoglio is located at the North end of the Roman Forums, just behind the Vittorio Emanuele Monument.
It's probably not the nicest square in Rome, but Piazza di Campidoglio is still very much worth a visit. There is a lovely fountain to the south of the Square outside the Palazzo Senatorio, and at the opposite end, at the top of the stairs into the square there are 2 huge statues, one on each side, watching you as you enter.
You also get a good view of Piazza venezia from here.
Again, not as impressive as say Piazza Della Rotondo (the pantheon), or Piazza di Trevi (the Tevi Fountains), but the Piazza di Campidoglio is definetly worth a look if you are near.
To the left of the City Hall, you will see a little noticed column but an important symbol of Rome: the Capitoline She-Wolf!
This is a stone copy of an original Etruscan bronze that you can see inside the Museum. The figure of Romulus and Remus were added later.
Here is the legend of Romulus, remus and the foundation of Rome.
Amulius was a wicked king that was ruling the kingdom of Alba Longo. He had a brother, Numitor that he fought and sent into exile. Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, was forced to become a Vestal and thus, not allow to marry or have children. Mars the God of War, saw her and fell in love. Soon enough, Rhea Silvia gave birth to twin boys. Furious, Amulius ordered the babies to be thrown in the Tiber. the slave that had to carry the task couldn't do it and just left the babies' basket to float. A She-wolf that had just lost her cubs saw the basket and out of curiosity, reached for it and saved the boys. She looked after them for a while, the babies feeding on her milk. One day, a sheperd called Faustulus saw the boys with the wolf and brought them back home. He and his wife adopted them and named them Romulus and Remus. When grown, the boys became sheperds like their adopted father.
Back to Roman times The Senate was settled on the top of the Capitoline Hill (Italians call it Campidoglio). In the ancient times it was a nerve-centre for the city life, nowadays it is the seat of the commune.
Campidoglio is definetelly one of the most beautiful sights in whole of Rome, thanks to the magnificient steps designed by Michelangelo, also known as Cordonata. It is trapezoidal shaped square, unique in the world with the bronze statue of Marco Aurelio right in the center of the system. The peculiar paving for the square was chosen by Michelangelo, referable to an oval built geometry so typical for the Renaissance.
The Campidoglio was Rome's most important hill. The centre of religious life and the site where the most important things happened. The Campidoglio is now 2 hills, one on where the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is (formerly the Ara Capitolina), and the other where the temple of Jupiter Optimo Maximo was. The piazza del Campidoglio is now Rome's centre of public administration, and it was beautifuly designed by Michaelangelo for Pope Paul III.
This piazza is surrounded by 3 buildings (New Palace, Palace of the Conservatory and Senatorial Palace), and it has ha beautiful statue of Marcus Aurelius in the middle, along many other statues. This statue is said to be the model for every equestrian statue in Rome.
The Capitol, once sacred to the Romans and the destination of the triumphal processions of victorious generals, is today the headquarters of the Mayor and the Municipality of Rome. Piazza del Campidoglio was masterful designed by Michelangelo for Pope Paul III. Michelangelo also designed the two palaces on the opposite sides of the square, creating a divergence which widens a perspective to the Palazzo Senatorio.
“Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.”
— Marcus Aurelius (AD 121 - 180)
In 1536 Michelangelo designed this magnificent stage set to crown the Capitoline, the smallest of Ancient Rome’s seven hills; but the most important because it was the seat of power.
Michelangelo was inspired by Rome’s two millennia of glorious history that revolved around this hilltop. Being a sculptor, he used it to showcase great Classical Roman statues, most notably the equestrian bronze of Emperor Marcus Aurelius that stands at its center. The square you see today is Rome’s first planned piazza. It is just as Michelangelo originally conceived it — except that the Marcus Aurelius bronze is a copy; the original, with its gold leaf partially intact, is safe inside the near-by Museo Capitolino.
In AD 166 an unknown sculptor produced the bronze equestrian sculpture of Marcus Aurelius, Emperor and philosopher, in the fifth year of his rule (AD 161-180). He was the Ancient Roman who best typified what today we call a Renaissance Man. The emperor must have ‘spoken’ to Michelangelo across fifteen centuries; both were multi-talented men. Unlike most similar sculptures, this bronze of Marcus Aurelius escaped being melted down because it was mistakenly thought to be of Constantine the Great, Rome’s first Christian emperor. It was given a place of honor beside Rome’s cathedral, St. John in Lateran.
Palazzo Nuovo, meaning “new palace,” is the smaller of the two museums on the Capitoline Hill. It is a spectacular museum, including many objects from antiquity. One of the most stunning antiques is the large lounging sculpture of a water god, called Marforio by the Romans, found just inside the main entry way. Being a water god, it is appropriate the Marforio is the centerpiece of a fountain (see photo #1).
Palazzo Nuovo was built in the 17th century under the direction of Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo. From the outside, Palazzo Nuovo is identical to Palazzo dei Conservatori, across Piazza dei Campidoglio. Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori comprise the Musei Capitolini Museums, which were established in 1471 by Pope Sixtus I. The Holy Father donated a series of bronze statues to the city of Rome.
On exhibit here are mostly sculptures from Ancient Greece and Rome. A satyr (see photo #2); a lion and Minerva, goddess of Wisdom (see photo #3); as well as numerous plaques with Roman text (see photo #4) are examples of what you will see.
The one of the most well-known works from Antiquity is the Capitoline Venus (see photo #5). She is Venus Pudica, a modest Venus. Posed with her right hand moving to cover her breasts and her left placed over her groin, she emerges from her bath. This is an original, dating from the second or third centuries BC; many copies followed.
Venus was found on the Viminal Hill in the Stazi family gardens; Clement X (born 1590, pope from 1670 to 1676) was pope. Bought by Pope Benedict XIV from the Stazi in 1752, the Holy Father gave it to the Capitoline Museums. Venus is displayed in her own Classically-designed niche — called the Cabinet of Venus — on the ground floor.
Venus was loaned to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from June 8 to September 18, 2011, being shown in the rotunda of the West Building.
Entry into the museum was once directly from Piazza dei Campidoglio but no longer. Tickets must be bought at the Palazzo dei Conservatori; and an underground passage leads to Palazzo Nuovo. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 09:00 to 20:00.
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