Capitoline Hill - Campidoglio, Rome

4.5 out of 5 stars 86 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Looking up towards the piazza from the Cordonata
    Looking up towards the piazza from the...
    by Jefie
  • Statue of Hapi, the Nile River god
    Statue of Hapi, the Nile River god
    by Jefie
  • The view from the top of the Aracoeli stairway
    The view from the top of the Aracoeli...
    by Jefie
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Things to see and do around Capitoline Hill

    by Jefie Written Dec 13, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Perhaps the biggest attractions on Capitoline Hill are the Capitoline Museums housed in the Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori. We had decided not to spend too much time in art museums during our trip to Rome, but even so, I still wanted to see Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michaelangelo in the 16th century at the express request of Pope Paul III.

    In Ancient Roman times, several important temples overlooking the Roman Forum were built on Capitoline Hill, which came to represent Rome as the "Capital of the World", so to speak. However, as the Roman Empire fell, so did the temples, and the hill was in a rather state when the pope asked Michaelangelo to rebuild it. One of the most radical changes made by the artist was to turn the focus of Capitoline Hill away from the Roman Forum and center it on Piazza del Campidoglio. His elegant Cordonata staircase, flanked by two marble statues of Castor and Pollux, leads up to the piazza. A monumental equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius sits at the center of the piazza. Its presence was more or less imposed on Michaelangelo who somehow had to find a way to make the Ancient Roman bronze statue fit with the Renaissance design he had in mind; he did so by designing a special marble pedestal for it. The statue stands in front of the Palazzo Senatorio, which now houses Rome's City Hall.

    Also built on Capitoline Hill is the basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, which is reached by climbing the 124 steps of the Aracoeli Staircase. Although the barren facade of the basilica might not make it seem like it's worth the effort, a pleasant surprise awaits those who are brave enough to burn a few calories. The nave of the basilica is no less than 80 m long and is adorned with 22 Ancient Roman columns; the overall effect is very impressive, no matter how many beautiful churches you've seen during your trip to Rome! The basilica is associated with several legends and miracles, including the apparition of the Virgin Mary and a wooden statue of the Infant Jesus, which is believed to cure terminal illnesses. The miraculous properties of the statue were first acknowledged by Pope Leo XIII in 1894. The original statue was stolen in 1994; it was recovered, but it is kept in the basilica's sacristy. A copy was made to display in the church.

    Looking up towards the piazza from the Cordonata Statue of Hapi, the Nile River god Stairway leading up to Santa Maria in Aracoeli Inside the basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli The view from the top of the Aracoeli stairway
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    PIAZZA DEL CAMPIDOGLIO.

    by breughel Updated Jan 20, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The "Campidoglio" or Capitoline became my favourite piazza in Rome since the Piazza Navona became so touristy and commercial (see my tip).
    The arrival by the monumental staircase “Cordonata” drawn by Michel-Angel is a pleasure although the lions, of Egyptian origin, at the entry of the staircase do not project any more wine like “in the good old days”. And then when arriving at the height of the statues of Dioscures one discovers this square also build following a project of Michel-Angelo.
    The three palaces are splendid and an amateur of museums like me finds here to enjoy himself (I could not avoid writing 6 reviews about the marvellous collections of the Capitolini museums).

    While climbing the stairs I like to see appearing the equestrian statue of Marcus-Aurelius placed there in 1538. Today it is a copy whose restored original is in the Capitoline museums (ref. my tip). The realization of this copy from 1997 called upon elaborate techniques. The restitution of the geometrical shape of the equestrian statue was made through a numerical model.
    A splendid discovery is made when following the small streets left or right of the palace of the Senators with the sights on the Foro Romano.

    But the pleasure does not stop there; if I want to rest, refresh or nourish myself I go up to the cafeteria "Caffè Capitolino" of the 2nd floor of the museum of the Palazzo dei Conservatori where the Cappuccino is excellent and the sight on Rome superb.
    Caffè Capitolino can be reached by a free entrance independent from the museum at piazza Cafarelli (turn right after the stairs and take the short climb). There are tables inside and outside on a terrace. Open: 9 - 20 h. Closed on Mondays

    Campidoglio - general view. Campidoglio - The Dioscure statues. Campidoglio - Marcus-Aurelius statue (copy). View from Campidoglio seen from St Maria in Aracoeli.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    the best of the seven hills

    by solopes Updated Dec 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Drawn by Michelangelo, the square and staircase of Campidoglio compose a very harmonic ensemble, that didn't deserve to be "hidden" behind the "monster" of Vittorio Emanuel II monument.

    The geometry of the square is carefully planned, and the palaces that surround it, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, respect the master's criteria.

    A church - St. Maria in Aracueli - museums in the palaces, and very interesting statues all around, advice you to reserve several hours to its visit. If you can! We couldn't, and that's why Campidoglio remains in my Rome's "to see" agenda.

    Rome - Italy
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Piazza Campidoglio

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 7, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On a hill overlooking the Roman Forum is Piazza Campidglio much of which was designed by Michelangelo. Surrounding the Piazza on three sides are Renaissance palaces that now constitute the Capitoline Museum.

    Piazza Campidoglio Piazza Campidoglio Piazza Campidoglio
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Caput mundi - head of the world

    by goodfish Updated Aug 29, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Capitoline Hill is the highest of the fabled seven, and was the pinnacle of ancient Rome's status as leader of the world. Most of the structures from that period have been destroyed or built over but Michelangelo's beautiful, 16th-century Piazza del Campidoglio and the Capitoline Museums are well worth a stagger to the top. With the remodeling of some existing structures, a mathematically clever paving design and addition of a staircase (Cordonata), the great painter, sculptor and architect changed the symbolic orientation of power away from the pagan ruins of the forum and towards the Vatican. Among other sites to visit on the hill are the ruins of ancient Roman apartments and Temple of Jupiter, church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli and the enormous, painfully bright Victor Emmanuel Monument.

    Although you can get to the top more than one way, the Cordonata is on Via Del Teatro Di Marcello.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo

    12-Shortest but most Sacred-Capitoline Hill

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Oct 17, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Campidoglio or Capitoline Hill or Capitol Square is the shortest of the seven hills that constitute the ancient city of Rome established by Romulus in 753 BC after killing his brother, Remus. But it is the most sacred owing to the presence of the Jupiter temple and the temple to the Capitoline Triad, Jupiter and Juno and their daughter Minerva, constructed by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome. The name of the hill refers to the discovery of a human skull (‘caput’), while the foundation for the temple was being dug. The English word, 'Capital', is derived from ‘caput’ and, by extension, the name of the hill, Capitoline.

    This hill and the nearby hills are drenched in history and in blood. Besides the fratricidal killing of Remus by his twin brother Romulus in Palantine Hill, it is the place where the invading Sabines, living in the north-east of Rome, crushed the Vestal Virgin Tarpeia under their shields when she went to claim her reward for betraying her city by letting them in. She had wanted their gold bracelets which they wore on their left hand but they used their shields, which also they wore on their left hand, to crush her instead. The part of the hill where she was buried is called the Tarpeian Rock. After her, all traitors of the city were unceremoniously pushed down to their death from this rock. In later years, the Temple of Jupiter was used as a refuge by Brutus and the other co-conspirators after their assassination of Julius Caesar.

    For a few centuries the hill remained in ruins. It was only in 1536 that Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo to re-design the place completely for the grand reception of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. The genius went to work and designed the staircase, the buildings on the three sides, the convex pavement and the pedestal for the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. He reversed the architecture completely to face St. Peter’s Basilica instead of the traditional opening towards the Roman Forum. This was to emphasise the importance of the Pope and of the Church over the lives of the people of Rome. The staircase was completed in 1550. However, it was only much later that his entire plan was conceived.

    As you climb up the majestic Cordonata, as the sloping steps are called, to the top of the Capitoline Hill, you'll probably encounter quite a few Roman soldiers dressed as they would have quite a few centuries ago. You could probably greet them with the traditional Roman forearm clasp and take a few photos alongside them but this enthusiasm may set you back by a pretty penny.

    The Cordonata looks like a sweeping staircase. It is actually a ramp with short risers which allowed easy access to the horses. At the top of the steps, on either side are statues of the Dioscuri (Gemini Twins) and their horses, considered to be the protectors of Rome. Castor is to the left and Pollux to the right. Both were created during the period of Septimius Severus (c. 200 AD) and kept in the Temple of Castor and Pollux next to Circus Flaminius. In 1584 AD, these two statues were removed from their original position and placed here. The egg-shaped cap worn by the right hand-side Dioscuri, refers to the mythology of Leda's hatching of two eggs after her union with Zeus, who came to her, disguised as a swan.

    Further to your right, beside the statue of Pollux, stands a striking array of statues from the time of Domitian and his battles against the Dacian King, Decebalus, in 85 AD. Earlier, it was mistaken for the 'Trophei di Mario' or 'Trophies of Marius', a reference to Gaius Marius (157-86 BC), the Roman General who defeated the Germanic Cimbri and Teutonic tribes and was considered the third founder of Rome.

    After you huff and pant your way to the top, you are rewarded by the sight of the beautiful perfectly-proportioned Piazza del Campidoglio. A copy of the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in positioned in the centre of the square. The original was housed safely inside the Capitoline Museum in 1997 as the elements had been too rough on it over the centuries and after a bomb was exploded damaging the legs of the horse. If you look carefully, you will notice that Marcus Aurelius is riding his horse without a stirrup (the original statue was erected in 176 AD). The reason is that stirrups arrived in Europe only in the 6th. or 7th. century.

    Behind is the Palazzo Senatorio with Michelangelo’s double staircase and statues of the River God Nile on the left and River God Tigris on the right, both of 2nd. century vintage. The River God Nile holds a cornucopia in the left hand while reclining against an Egyptian Sphinx. The River God Tigris also holds a cornucopia in the left hand but reclines on a She-Wolf. Later, the statue of Tigris was changed to that of the River Tiber by making alterations to the head to resemble a she-wolf with the babes Romulus and Remus suckling her for milk.

    In the middle is the statue of Dea Roma, the Goddess of Rome. When water finally arrived in 1588 to the Capitoline Hill via the Aqua Felice aqueduct, the statue of Minerva was moved to the Capitoline Museum and replaced by the smaller statue of Dea Roma. In the vacant place, a fountain was constructed. The statue of Dea Roma holds a globe in her left hand, symbolising Rome as the centre of the world. Only the head, arms and feet of the statue are of marble. The rest of the body is made of porphyry.

    Behind all this and facing you is the Senatorium or Town Council. To your left is the statuary-filled Palace of the Conservatori or Curators while to your right is the Capitoline Museum. These house some of the greatest artefacts of classical sculpture in the world. The other steps adjoining the Cordonata approach will take you to the Santa Maria d'Aracoeli (St Mary of the Altar in the Sky), which stands at the highest point of Capitoline Hill.

    First Written: Oct. 17, 2012

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • iblatt's Profile Photo

    Michelangelo's Harmonious Piazza

    by iblatt Updated Oct 18, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Capitoline Hill was an important sacred site in antiquity. In Medieval times it became the center of guilds and government, but the Farnese Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo to plan a new ambitious project: a new monumental piazza, to become the center of political life in Rome.

    The project was begun in 1538, and was only completed long after Michelangelo's death, but according to his original design. Michelangelo had some architectural problems: The shape of the piazza is actually trapezoid, and there is a gentle slope of the surface. His ingenious solutions create a beautiful, harmonious space.

    This piazza on a hill is one of my most favorite places in Rome. You climb the beautiful, broad Cordonata steps, and little by little the whole elliptical square is revealed to you; symmetrical palaces on both sides, and a beautiful palace in front, all part of one harmonious complex (today they form the Capitoline Museums).
    It is of interest that one part of Michelangelo's original plan was not executed until 1940: This is the interlacing 12-point star pattern in oval center of the piazza.

    In the center of the ellipse is a majestic equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, his hand raised. This is a copy of an ancient Roman bronze sculpture, 3.5 meters tall.

    Statue of Marcus Aurelius, Piazza del Campidoglio Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome The Cordonata Steps Palazzo dei Conservatori, Piazza del Campidoglio
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Campidoglio

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 12, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Campidoglio and Michelangelo Piazza Campidoglio Senatorial Palace Marco Aurelio Marco Aurelio

    Was this review helpful?

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Cordonata & Piazza di capitoglio

    by mindcrime Written Mar 20, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cordonata Capitolina (pics 1-2) is the famous sloping ramp (actually transversal stripes of stone that create slightly inclined steps) that connects piazza Venezia with Campidoglio. It was built by Michelangelo and features at the bottom 2 small fountains with the sculptures of Egyptian lions on them while at the top of Cordonata you can see 2 sculptures of Castor and Pollux.

    We went up the steps to see the Campidoglio square(pic 3) that was also designed by Michelangelo. In the middle of the square you can see a replica of an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelus, the original can been seen inside the Capitoline Museums that spread out on 3 different buildings that face the square:
    1)palazzo Senatorio. It was built in 13th century and housed the archives of ancient Rome. In our days it’s Rome’s City Hall.
    2)palazzo dei Conservatori. It was built during the medieval times on the spot where an ancient temple once stood(the same goes for church Santa Maria in Aracoeli next to Campidoglio square)
    3)palazzo Nuovo. The “New Palace” was built in 17th century

    The Capitoline museum is the oldest public art collection in Europe (it was founded by Pope Sixtus IV in 1471). It has some great sculptures and a lot of portrait paintings (we got bored with them)

    The Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00-20.00
    The entrance fee is 6,5euros

    Cordonata Capitolina top of Cordonata Capitolina Campidoglio square Capitoline museum
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Cordonata

    by Tijavi Updated Nov 20, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This grand stairway that leads to Piazza del Campidoglio was also designed by Michelangelo. Unlike the nearby Aracoeli staircase that was made up of small steps, Michelangelo designed the Cordonata as a ramp, probably to allow horses and carriages to reach Piazza del Campidoglio.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Castor+Pollux, Boys at the Top of The Stairs Pt. I

    by von.otter Updated Oct 27, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “Yesterday, at noon, we set out for the Capitol, and stopped to look at the statues of Castor and Pollux, which look down the ascent. Castor and his brother seem to me to have heads disproportionately large, and are not so striking, in any respect, as such great images ought to be.”
    — from the 1858 “French and Italian Note-Books” of Nathaniel Hawthorne

    To reach the Piazza del Campidoglio, that was designed and built by Michelangelo between 1536 and 1546, the best way is to take the Cordonata. This hybrid of a set of steps and a ramp that lead to the piazza makes the ascent of Rome’s Capitoline Hill, the highest and holiest of the city’s original seven hills, a pleasant go of it.

    And at the top of the Cordonata, as if guarding the entrance to Michelangelo’s piazza, are the loving twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, the eternal twins, who were placed by Jupiter in the sky as the Gemini.

    The Greeks and Romans worshiped these twins as the protectors of business, travel and hospitality, and they were Rome’s special guardians. Castor stands on the left and Pollux on the right; they were found when excavations were made for building the walls of the Jewish Ghetto and were placed here in 1583.

    Cordonata to the Piazza del Campidoglio, May 2007 Cordonata to the Piazza del Campidoglio, May 2007 Cordonata to the Piazza del Campidoglio, May 2007 Castor, Piazza del Campidoglio, May 2007 Pollux, Piazza del Campidoglio, May 2007
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Piazza del Campidoglio

    by Tijavi Updated Oct 17, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Pattern resembled a 12-pointed star Statue of Marcus Aurelius at the center
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    The Capitoline Hill

    by aukahkay Written Oct 9, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Capitoline Hill, once sacred to the Romans and destination of the triumphal processions of victorious generals, is today the headquarters of the Mayor and the Municipality of Rome. In the Piazza del Campidoglio, Michelangelo placed an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the pedestal.

    The Campidoglio Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • tim07's Profile Photo

    Capitol

    by tim07 Updated Aug 31, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Capitoline hill was the centre of the Roman world with its temples & view overlooking Forum.

    Today on the hill you'll find the Piazza del Campidoglio. This beautiful 17th century square has the two Capitoline Museums facing each other across it. The other building on the square is the Palazzo Senatorio, previously used by the Roman Senate, it now houses offices of the mayor. In the centre of the square is a statue of Marcus Aurelius (a copy, the original is inside the nearby museum).

    The square is best approached from Plazza Venezia by climbing the Cordonata. This is a staircase with a pair of granite lions at the foot. At the top are statues of the mythical twins Castor and Pollux.

    Piazza del Campidoglio Cordonata Cordonata

    Was this review helpful?

  • monica71's Profile Photo

    Capitol Hill Square

    by monica71 Written Feb 12, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Capitol Hill Square is the home of the city's government. The square was designed by Michelangelo in 1530. The focal point of the square is the statue of Marcus Aurelius (a reproduction of the statue, the original one is inside the Capitoline Museum).

    The long staircase that takes you to the square is called the Cordonata. At the top of the staircase are the statues of Castor and Pollux.

    There are 3 important buildings in the square: Palazzo Nouvo, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Senatorio. In front of the Palazzo Senatorio there is a very nice fountain where you will also see the statue of Lady Rome.

    Construction of the square started in 1546 but only the staircase at the entrance of the Palazzo Senatorio was completed when Michelangelo died in 1564. The project was finished in the 17th century.

    on the way to the square in front of the Palazzo Senatorio statue of Lady Rome Statues of Castor and Pollux the Cordonata
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Rome

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

17 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Capitoline Hill - Campidoglio
4.5 out of 5 stars
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices
5.0 out of 5 stars
0.1 miles away

View all Rome hotels