01 August 2016
Creating the perfect juxtaposition, the world’s largest public museum is set atop Rome’s smallest hill. Founded in 1471, the Capitoline Museums are primarily made up of two buildings, Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori.
Set within Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio, the Museums are connected through a magical underground tunnel called the “Tabularium”.
One of the Museums' most famous pieces is the she-wolf, Lupa Capitolina. A predominate emblem of Rome, this bronze sculpture is said to represent the beloved she-wolf who rescued Romulus and Remus from the Tiber River. Although there are many other she-wolf statues and pictures in Rome (as it has become a symbol of the Eternal City), the wolf part of the statue is believed to have an ancient origin, dating back to the 5th century BC.
One of the oldest pieces within the Museums are the remains of the Temple of Jupiter. Also impressive is the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the only surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman em peror. Not to be confused with the impressive replica in Piazza del Campidoglio, this original piece is over 14 feet tall and is located inside the Museums.
While most of the Museums’ pieces are linked to Rome in some form, the collection is undeniably diverse. Many chiseled masterpieces can be found within the Capitoline Museums, including Bernini’s intricate marble sculpture of Medusa, the demure sculpture of the goddess of beauty, Capitoline Venus, and of course the Dying Gaul, the gripping rendition of an anguished gladiator.
Other key highlights of the Museums include the Capitoline Coin Cabinet, Caravaggio’s original painting of The Fortune Teller, an ancient collection of Etruscan and Greek vases, and mosaics from the 2nd century AD, such as the vibrant Scenic Masks.
When visiting Rome, experiencing this hub of culturally significant artwork is a must. Walks Inside Rome offers unique private tour of the Capitoline Museums, which can easily be combined with a tour of the Colosseum.