Rome Capitoline Hill Treasures

By | 15 April, 2009
Marco Aurelio's Statue on the Capitoline Square

Marco Aurelio's Statue on the Capitoline Square

The Capitoline Hill between the Roman Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills on which Rome was built and Roman Empire spread and prospered for several centuries.

The enchanting architectural design of the piazza, which appears before us as we climb the monumental staircase, is a result of the genius of Michelangelo.

The site has been the seat of municipal government throughout the city’s history.
In ancient times, the Capitoline was the political and religious center of Rome. The temple of Jupiter was founded on the southern summit of the hill in 509 B.C. and became the symbol of Rome’s authority as Caput Mundi, head of the world.
During early Christianity, the Capitoline lost its political importance and was completely abandoned.
The Capitoline took on its new occupation in 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV gave the Romans four bronze statues previously preserved in the Lateran palace, decreeing the opening of the first public museum in the world.
Plans for repaving the piazza, the renovation of the facades and the addition of the Palazzo Nuovo  were drawn up by Michelangelo. The facade of the pre-existing Palazzo Senatorio was transformed, while the medieval and Renaissance interior was preserved.
In 1565, under Pope Pius IV, works on the Palazzo dei Conservatori were initiated. The project was finally completed with the construction of the Palazzo Nuovo, on the left side of the piazza, inaugurated only in 1734.
The Capitol is a Museum complex enormous historic and cultural value, of which the piazza, the palaces, the archeological and artistic collections, and the main ancient monuments all play an important role.
The formation of the Capitoline collections of ancient art began in the 15th century with Pope Sixtus IV’s gift of the four bronze statues: the She-wolf, the Spinario, the statue of Camillo, and Constantine’s head.

Tough each of numerous masterpieces in the complex deserves a special mention, the museum’s protagonists are without doubts the well-preserved, imposing and beautiful statues.
Also well-worth seeing are the mosaics, busts, halls, inscriptions, stucco, frescos, tapestries, reliefs, colorful  marble panels and flooring.

Capitoline Museums

Capitoline Museums' Marbles

In the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, pieces of the colossal statue of Constantine are on display. The famous Sala della Lupa (room of the She-wolf) gets its name from one of the most suggestive symbols of the history of Rome, the She-wolf feeding Romulus and Remus.

19th Century Copy of the She-Wolf

19th Century Copy of the She-Wolf

The painting gallery, situated in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, houses works dating back from the late Middle Ages to the 17th century, amazing witnesses of the changes that took place in Italian art through the centuries.

The Capitoline Hall of Medals, located in Palazzo Clementino, comprises the numismatic, medal and jewelry collections. Brought together in 1872, this vast collection include ancient and modern coins, medieval and Renaissance 19th century medals and much more to explore and discover.
Few years ago, the Tabularium was also opened to the public. The Tabularium was the ancient Roman Record Office where the official acts of the Roman state, together with the bronze Tabulae,   where stored.
The visitor can no go from one palace to the other by using this tunnel which run below the level of the Museum but overlooks the Roman Forum on the other side.
The number of masterpieces on display at the Capitoline Museums is so great that more than one visit would be needed to appreciate them.

Ciao from Rome:-)

Nancy Aiello

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Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours specializes in private family oriented Rome and Vatican tours led by friendly and entertaining official Rome tour guides designed to satisfy the curiosity and attention spans of the whole family visiting Rome.

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