Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museum), Rome

"Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museum), Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 11th January 2012

Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museum), Rome, Italy

The Campidoglio is the seat of the City Council and the heart of Rome's cultural heritage. The Capitoline Museums are the world's most ancient museum and the most visited municipal museum in Rome. The Capitoline Museums (Italian: Musei Capitolini) are a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy. The museums are contained in three palazzi surrounding a central trapezoidal piazza in a plan conceived by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536 and executed over a period of more than 400 years.

The Museums consist of three buildings: Palazzo Nuovo, Palazzo Senatorio and Palazzo dei Conservatori and count 400.000 visitors a year. The entrance ticket (€7.80) is valid for both.

In 2003 the permanent collection of the Capitoline Museums has been enriched by the inauguration of a new section, the Medal Showcase housing the numismatic, glyptics and jewelry collections.

The overall layout of the collection was altered in the second half of the XVI century, when the museum acquired an important group of sculptures following Pope Pius V's decision to rid the Vatican of "pagan" images: notable works of art increased the collections thereby adding an aesthetic dimension to their hitherto generally historical nature.

Visitors can enjoy an important masterpiece of a genius of the Italian Renaissance, painting that has never been seen outside the Ambrosiana Library in Milan, on display at the Capitoline Museums.

With the building of the Palazzo Nuovo on the other side of the square it became possible from 1654 onwards to house in a more satisfactory manner the large collection of works that had been gathering in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, by utilising part of the new building.

A few decades later, in the middle of the XVIII century, Pope Benedict XIV (who was responsible for the addition of fragments of the Forma Urbis from the Age of Severus, the largest marble street-plan of ancient Rome) founded the Capitoline Picture Gallery, which saw the conflation of two important collections, the Sacchetti and the Pio.

Palazzo Nuovo contains mostly fine selections of Greek and Roman sculptures as Discobolus. Portrait busts of Greek politicians, scientists and poets can be seen in Hall of the Philosophers.

Capitoline museum outside in rome
Fig: Capitoline museum outside in rome

The Palazzo dei Conservatori contains several famous artworks from antiquity. Primary among them is the She-Wolf bronze (La Lupa), which dates from the fifth century BC, and is the de facto symbol of Rome. It depicts Romulus and Remus, the ancient founders of Rome, suckling a she-wolf. Other well-known works from ancient times are Il Spinario, a first century BC marble of a boy removing a thorn from his foot; the original equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (a copy of this is located in the center of Piazza del Campidoglio); and fragments from a colossal statue of Emperor Constantine.

A part from numerous temporary exhibits, the Museum houses a series of summer and winter concerts along with a film review in the open.

Outstanding free didactic activities are available to schools.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 9.00 am - 8.00 pm; December 24 and 31: 9.00 am - 2.00 pm (last admission 1 hour before closing time). Closed Monday, December 25, January 1, May 1

Musei Capitolini (Capitoline museum )
Piazza del Campidoglio 1, Capitol Hill, 00186 Roma
Metro 'B' Colosseo
Phone 06/39967800 (Information)
67102475 (Director's Office)

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