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Capitoline Museums - Welcome to Italy

Location: ROME

Opening time: Tues. to Sun. 9-19 closed Mon.
Admission charges: full price Lit. 10,000, concessions Lit. 5,000
public property

The Capitoline Museums, established in 1471 when Sistus IV donated to the people of Rome a collection of bronze statues, can be considered as the oldest public collection in the world. From the very beginning, they were thought for keeping material originating from Rome and her surrounding areas. Additional statues were added to the collection by Paul III and Pius IV during the 16th century, as well as by Clemens XII and Benedict XIV during the 18th century. Over the years the museum was constantly enriched by new donations, acquisitions and archaeological finds, while a consistent amount of new material reached the museums following the urbanistic works carried out after 1870, when Rome became the capital city of Italy.
The Capitoline Museums are housed in two separate buildings, facing each other on the Piazza del Campidoglio: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo. The Palazzo dei Conservatori was built in 1560 and after nearly one century, the Palazzo Nuovo was designed by Girolamo Rinaldi and built in 1655. With the Palazzo Senatorio, they form the architectural composition of Piazza del Campidoglio, with its distinctive trapezoid shape, designed by Michaelangelo.
Since its foundation, the museum has exclusively been devoted to ancient statuary. The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, a bronze original dating back to 175 AD, has recently been relocated to the museum from piazza del Campidoglio, in order to preserve it from pollution. One of the most famous pieces on display is the Galata Morente (the Dying Gaul), copy of an original bronze statue donated to the temple of Athena by Attalus I after his victory on the Gauls. Also remarkable are the Capitoline Venus, and the Wounded Amazon, from an original by Phydias dating back to the 5th century BC. The museum also houses a collection of busts portraying the Roman emperors from Augustus to Constantine, and some empresses while the Hall of the Philosophers exhibits a number of portraits of famous Greek men as Homer, Socrates, Demosthenes, Epicurus. The two Centaurs and a Satyr, coloured statues from Villa Adriana, as well as the famous Mosaic of the Doves (picturing two doves watering from a vase) are also particularly remarkable.