Climbing the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)

"Climbing the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 27th June 2011

In the ancient epoch the way leading to the Capitoline Hill was made of step slope of a rock, on which a group of houses stood. The side street Via delle Tre Pile was open in 1692 by Innocent XII Pignatelli. The so called House of Michelangelo was located on it, but now its reconstruction is in the beginning of the Passeggiata del Gianicolo. Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill) or Capitolium or Capitol is highest of the seven hills of ancient Rome, historic and religious center of the city.

Climbing the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill) or Salita del Campidoglio.jpg
A brief overview of the panoramic points in Rome should start from the Campidoglio or Capitol hill, the ideal centre of the city and the symbol of its life. There are different places from where you can enjoy wonderful views of the city. The present stepped ramp (Cordonata) giving access to the Piazza del Campidoglio was projected by Michelangelo, and built by G.Della Porta in 1581-1583. Once you climb the “cordonata” (the flight of steps) instead of continuing towards the piazza del Campidoglio go at the back of the Palazzo Senatorio. On your right you reach a widening with a view over the Roman Forum. From here you can admire a unique scenery: the monuments dating back to the foundation of Rome and others that date back to the Republic and the Empire.

In the beginning of it there are two fountains with the Egyptian Lions (pictured below) in black granite from the Temple of Isis (two copies of the original lions, located in Vatican Museums since 1880), by G.Della Porta (1588). Sometimes, on special occasions, from their mouth flew not water, but red and white wine.
two fountains with the Egyptian Lions.
On the left of the stairs there is a little monument to Cola di Rienzo, erected here by Girolamo Masini in 1887, a tribune of Roman people (1347), murdered in 1354 on this site. It was a general place of executions of sentenced to death noble people for the political crimes, and bore the name "luogo del leone" (place of lion), because in those time the heraldic symbol of Rome was a lion, but in our days it is a she-wolf (higher up is a cage which, until recently, contained this animal). There was a statue representing a lion seizing with the fangs a horse; now-days it is located in "giardino romano" of Palazzo dei Conservatori.

Follow the path of the ancient Via Sacra (Sacred Way), the most famous street in ancient Rome that gets its name from the ceremonies and processions that happened there, under the shadow of the Arch of Titus and the monumental Coliseum. Near your standpoint you can see the majestic silhouette of the Basilica of Maxentius and the ruins of several temples: among those are the temple of Romulus, the temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the house of the Vestal Virgins and the temple of Vesta.

While climbing the stairs you will see appearing the equestrian statue of Marcus-Aurelius placed there in 1538. Today, the Campidoglio is dominated by the renovated Capitoline Museums, twin Renaissance palaces facing a piazza designed by Michelangelo. The oldest public museums in the world, their gleaming hallways are lined with classical masterpieces. 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 (Palazzo Senatorio) with the sights on the Foro Romano.

At the end of this ideal visual itinerary are the temple of Caesar, the Arch of Augustus and the most ancient temple of Castor and Pollux, until you reach the rectangular square of the Forum where the Sacred Way – passing before the basilica Aemilia and near the Rostra (the platform beside the Curia from which orators spoke to the assembled people) – ends before the temple of Saturn. In the square stands the Column of Phocas, the last monument built within the Forum and, on the left, is the arch of Septimius Severus. Finally, for a very spectacular view of the city, you can climb the bell tower of Palazzo Senatorio.

Address:
Climbing the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)
Piazza del Campidoglio
00186 , Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Campitelli (Foro Romano- Campidoglio-P.Venezia) (Roma centro)
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