As I previously said, I did not intend to visit many museums in Rome, but due to being considered the world’s most ancient museum, the Capitoline Museums were on my list. The Capitoline Museums or Musei Capitolini are a group of museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, located on the top of one of the seven hills of Rome (did you know that my home city, the marvelous Lisbon, is also built on top of seven hills?) the Capitoline Hill.
The museums are spread in three palaces (palazzi) surrounding the magnificent and beautiful trapezoidal piazza designed by the incredibly talented Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536.
The Museums are located in three buildings, namely il Palazzo Nuovo, il Palazzo Senatorio and il Palazzo dei Conservatori, that host some of the greatest classical sculptures in the planet. Palazzo dei Conservatori comprises the Appartamento dei Conservatori, Museo del Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Pinacoteca.
The Curator’s palace was remodeled circa 1568 by Della Porta and Guidetti from a design by the mighty Michelangelo, who redesigned the facade, with the addition of enormous Corinthian columns on high pedestals. The building was also crowned with a balustrade and statues. At the entrance there are fragments of a 12m high statue of seated Constantine II, brought from Basilica of Maxentius in 1486. The Appartamento dei Conservatori include the following rooms:
- Sala degli Orazi e Curiazi – After the unification of Italy and Rome being set as the capital of the country, this room was the the most important center of national and international meetings and events, where the Treaty of Rome (the foundation of the EEC was signed in 1957).
- Sala dei Capitali containing frescoes and statues of Marcantonio Colonna, Alessandro Farnese and Carlo Barberini
- Sala dei Trionfi di Mario
- Sala della Lupa with the famous She-wolf, the symbol of Rome, Etruscan bronze statue.
- Sala delle Oche with a bust of Michelangelo by Bernine
- Sala delgli Arazzi
- Sala delle Aquile, Cappella Nuova, Sala delle Guerre Puniche, Cappella Vecchia.
The Museo del Palazzo dei Conservatori contains the following rooms
- Sale dei Fasti Moderni
- Sala degli Orti Lamiani
- Sala dei Magistrati
- Sale dei Monumenti Arcaici
- Sala del Camino
- Sale Castellani
- Sala dei Bronzi
- Sala degli Orti Mecenaziani
There is still a Pinacoteca with works mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries, including works from Caravaggio, Dosso Dossi, Rubens; and Titian.
The Palazzo Nuovo was completed 100 years after Palazzo dei Conservatori and contains breahtaking statues, busts, mosaics including the famous statue of Cupid and Psyche, the beautiful and colossal statue of Oceanus, located in the courtyard, and a fragment of the Tabula Iliaca located at the Hall of the Doves. There is a modern, glass covered hall where the original of the equestrian statue of Marco Aurelio is.
The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, is doubled positioned in the museums: the copy at the center of Piazza del Campidoglio and the original inside the museums.