Famous places in Rome: The Capitoline Hill

Capitoline Hill museums2

The Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) is one of the famous places in Rome that is impossible to miss. Located beside the Forum it boasts spectacular views and eventful past. During the Roman times, the Temple to Jupiter and the Capitoline Triad was standing here, said to be the largest and the most beautiful of its kind.

It had seen barbarian invasions, assassinations, and devious conspiracy plots. Historians say that political traitors were thrown down from the steep Capitoline Hill on to the rocks below.

Famous Places in Rome
The Capitoline Hill

Nowadays, Campidoglio is visited by thousands of tourists daily, who come here to see the grandeur of the piazza and the surrounded palazzi that were designed by Michelangelo. In the 16th century Pope Paul III hired the famous Renaissance architect to give the Capitoline Hill a major facelift that it was due after centuries of neglect during the Middle Ages. The task was create something majestic, fit for such a grand location, without any nod to the pagan past, though. Although, the space was limited Michelangelo managed to create a masterpiece: a sweeping staircase ramp, three splendid revamped palazzi and an elegant piazza with an imposing bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, all turned away from the Forum and facing in the direction of f St. Peter’s Basilica. The architect died before any major works were done. It took almost 400 years to complete the ambitious project of Campidoglio.

Famous Places in Rome - statue of Marcus Aurelius
The original statue of Marcus Aurelius

The three palazzi house the Capitoline Museums, which collections include various ancient Roman statues, medieval and Renaissance art, collections of jewels and coins. The original bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius made in the 2nd century AD is on display I one of the rooms. Centuries of rain, sun and pollution have done their damage and there is very little left from the opulent gold patina of the statue, however it is still owe-inspiring. Here you can also see the original Etruscan bronze she-wolf, the sacred symbol of the capital, remnants of a gigantic marble statue of the Emperor Constantine and the beautiful Capitoline Venus.

Famous Places in Rome Capitoline Hill
Fragment of a statue on the Capitoline Hill


Photos by: Diego Albero Roman, Riccardo Cuppini, Pietro Izzo.