Capitoline Museums (from italian, musei capitolini) is the oldest museum in the world. It dates back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a group of bronze statues preserved in the Lateran to the people of Rome, to which were added works from excavations in Rome, from the Vatican, or special purchases, always at the behest of a pontiff.
The tour of the Capitoline Museums comprises an itinerary into Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, the twin facilities housing the halls of the museums. Both palaces were created as part of Michelangelo’s redesign in 1536, which designed a magnificent transformation, starting with the facade of the Palazzo Senatorio, of the entire Piazza del Campidoglio, at the centre of which is the replica of the famous bronze equestrian statue representing Marcus Aurelius.
We will start the Capitoline Museums tour in Palazzo dei Conservatori. It results from the transformation of a medieval edifice, that housed the civil courts, the Conservatori. We will move from the courtyard of the Palace, where we will be able to admire fine examples of Roman sculpture, such as the marble remains of the colossal statue of Constantine from the Basilica on the via Sacra.
The tour continues on to the staircase, where we come across grand historic wall reliefs from important Roman monuments, three of which are representations of Marcus Aurelius. We will continue our itinerary with a visit to the halls.
First, the Sala degli Orazi e dei Curiazi, frescoed between 1596-1638 by Cavalier d’Arpino. Then, the tour will continue to the Sala dei Capitani, with frescos dating back to the end of 1500 and in the Sala dei Trionfi, which holds the famous bronze statues of Brutus in the Capitoline, of Spinario and of Camillo.We will move to the Sala della Lupa, the walls of which is decorated only by fragments of the Consular Glories and Triumphs, and it houses the symbol of rome: the Capitoline Wolf.
The tour will continue into the Sala degli Horti Lamiani, filled with works from the excavations on the Esquiline Hill. We then proceed to the area of the exedra where you can admire the otiginale equestiran statue of Marcus Aurelius (176 d.C.), then we will see the Capitoline Temple of Jupiter, dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, and we will admire the remains of the imposing walls of the tufa foundations. We will continue by descending into the underground Galleria Lapidaria, up to the Tabularium, the former State Archives, and from its arches we can enjoy the spectacular panorama of the Roman Forum.
The Capitoline Museums tour will concludes with a visit of Palazzo Nuovo, filled with sculptures of the Imperial age, including the Galata Capitolino, or Galata Morente, a Roman copy of one of the Pergamum group of statues, celebrating the victory of Attalus I of Pergamum, a loyal ally of Rome, over the Gauls in Asia Minor.